Springbok Nizaam Carr knows all about breaking Bristol Bears hearts and is backing his former Wasps teammates to win Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership semi-final at the Ricoh Arena and then lift the league title.

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Carr scored the match-winning final minute try to give Wasps a 26-21 win over Bristol at Ashton Gate in December,  a victory that provided the club with a much-needed boost which they have since turned into a surge into the play-offs. 

Now with the Bulls in Pretoria having returned to South Africa, Carr is in daily contact with Jack Willis, his fellow back row forward. He is tipping him to not only win a first England cap in the autumn but also make the British and Irish Lions squad for their three-Test series with the world champion Springboks next year.

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Carr told RugbyPass: “If I was the England coach I would build my team around Jack. I definitely believe Wasps can beat Bristol and then become champions and they would really deserve it.

“If they don’t send a winner’s medal to me in South Africa I will jump on a plane and come over for it! Wasps have been winning with bonus points for all their tries and I’m really happy for them.

“I had never scored a winning try other than at school level and that wasn’t as sweet at the one at Bristol. At the time we needed a win and it was really special to do that for the boys because it was a really tough game against Bristol and that is what you can expect in the play-off. 

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“They have some big-name superstars who really take the game to you and it took a moment at the end of the 80 minutes to find the space on the outside. I always remember that try and people will probably remember me for that score.

“The battle between Malakai Fekitoa and Semi Radradra of Bristol will be really important and they know each other from their time at Toulon. I learnt a lot from Malakai and he is a really humble guy and I’m taking what he has taught me into my game. Radradra has so many things he can deliver and is a key man, but having Malakai means there will be a real contest.”

Carr is a big fan of Willis and believes his time has come to break into Test rugby. He had a special message for England boss Eddie Jones. “If Eddie Jones doesn’t select him then he has some serious problems because going forward Jack could make the Lions and South Africa would have to work hard to get him off the ball. 

“His general play is very good and his understanding and eagerness to learn makes him so effective. Not many players have that at Jack’s age and he is a really world-class performer. It’s now just about getting that England call-up.”

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The former Springbok forward, who will be keeping a close eye on the semi-final, had a message for Wasps fans. “When I do a wave on the pitch for the Bulls I will be waving to the Wasps fans because I had a special time at the club and they are very dear to my heart.”

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