EDINBURGH youngster Lewis Carmichael has been sent to Australia on a loan deal with struggling Super Rugby side Western Force until the end of the southern hemisphere season. The 21-year-old second-row, who is in his first year as a full-time professional, has played 15 matches off the bench for the capital outfit this season, but the decision has been made that they can do without his services during the campaign run-in.
Carmichael has also featured regularly for his feeder club, Melrose, this season, but will not be part of their quest to secure a league and cup double during the month ahead.
The agreement was brokered by Scottish Rugby’s Director of Rugby, Scott Johnson, and Edinburgh Rugby’s Managing Director, Jonny Petrie, and is apparently designed to “help players gain experience in a different training and cultural environment”.
“I’m really excited to get out to Australia and it was an offer that I jumped to take. I watch a lot of Super Rugby, and it will be a huge opportunity for me to go and train in a new environment, hopefully get some game time and experience a different style of rugby. I feel I’ll come back as a more rounded rugby player after spending some time in their camp,” said Carmichael.
News reports in Australia this week have indicated that Western Force is facing closure at the end of the season. Super Rugby’s governing body, Sanzaar, is in the process of assessing the competition’s 18-team format and is expected to reduce it to 16 or 15 teams. The Perth-based outfit was formed in 2005, entered Super Rugby in 2006, but have never made the finals. They have finished in the bottom three of the competition in six of their 11 seasons.. The team has managed only one win from four matches so far in this campaign.
“Getting game time most weeks at Edinburgh has really helped me as a rugby player and given me a taste of what it takes to compete at this level in the professional game,” said Johnson.
“This is a huge opportunity for Lewis, who will be able to learn and develop as a player in a different rugby culture and environment.
“Super Rugby is great standard of rugby, and for Lewis to have an involvement in that competitive environment will only prove as a positive to him as a player going forth. We are actively looking to give selected players new opportunities to help develop their game and broaden their rugby experience to ultimately benefit Edinburgh Rugby.
“We wish Lewis all the best for the rest of the Super Rugby season and look forward to him returning to the club.”