Schoolboy Spotlight Q&A: Tarquin Carlsson gets to know the Bishops flank.

What’s been the highlight of your rugby career so far?
Being selected for the Bishops 1st XV and going on the tour to Italy, which was a privilege considering I’m in Grade 10.

What are the strengths of your game?
I pride myself on my ball-carrying ability, but it’s something I do naturally than put any particular emphasis on.

What do you feel you need to work on?
There’s a lot I can improve on, including my speed and fitness … my conditioning in general. There are also occasions when I hold on to the ball for too long when I could have passed, so in that sense my vision could use work. But I’ve talked to the coach [Dave Mallett] and assistant coaches and arranged a spring training regime to work on those areas.

Have you always played flank?
I actually played prop until the beginning of this year when Dave moved me to flank for the Italian tour. I’m enjoying the position; there’s more freedom to get involved in open play and I’m able to contribute more.

Has rugby always been your game?
I played cricket, but gave it up to focus on rugby. I have taken up rowing, but only to help with my conditioning for rugby.

Who do you want to emulate?
Heinrich Brussow’s fetching ability stands out, but Juan Smith, in terms of his all-round ability, is someone I’d like to emulate.

Which teams do you support?
Being from the Cape you can’t go past the Stormers. I enjoy their style of play.

Your toughest opponent this year?
Paarl Gymnasium. Their physicality really made life hard for us and they were able to do a lot of running. At times we were muscled off the ball. But I’ve got two years to help put that right [Bishops lost 34-32].

What are your future ambitions?
I’d love for rugby to be a big part of my future. I plan on going to UCT, which will give me the opportunity to study [a BA majoring in drama] and continue playing. I’ll take it one step at a time.

By Rory Keohane