EDINBURGH have handed former Scotland under-20 second-row Lewis Carmichael a two year contract.

Carmichael had one of the most disappointing days of his fledgling career so far on Saturday when he was controversially sin-binned whilst playing for Melrose in the BT Cup Final at Murrayfield. During the ten minutes in which he was in the cooler, Heriot’s racked up 12 unanswered points – which proved decisive in a 21-13 win for the city side.

But that set-back will now be relegated to the status of distant memory for the 20-year-old lock, who has set his sights on breaking into the Edinburgh team, where he would line-up alongside some of his boyhood heroes, as well as a few younger stars he came through the ranks with.

“I’m a local boy, I grew up in East Lothian and Edinburgh’s the club I‘ve always wanted to be involved in. It’s great that Alan [Solomons} has seen the potential and has belief in me,” he said.

“I remember coming to Edinburgh games a lot when I was much younger and seeing Ross Ford, Chris Paterson and Alasdair Dickinson play. I was watching these players when I was ten years old and coming to the games with my mates – now I’m training with them, it’s pretty surreal.”

“Grant Gilchrist is my mentor. We’ve been over a few of my Melrose games, he’s helping me with my confidence calling the lineout and giving me tips about carrying ball – it’s great.”

Born in Edinburgh, Carmichael attended North Berwick High School, and represented the city of his birth at under-17 and under-18 levels before being drafted into the Scotland under-18 squad, making his debut against England in March 2013

He joined Melrose straight from school and was in the starting fifteen which secured the Premiership with a win over Currie at the Greenyards in March 2014.

Carmichael’s first try for Scotland under-20s secured the side’s 36-34 victory over Wales in February 2015, and he crossed the line to score the team’s sole try in the Junior World Championship opener against New Zealand last June. He was awarded a BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy contract last summer and has been training full-time with Edinburgh for almost a whole year now.

Carmichael came through the age grades at the same time as Magnus Bradbury, Blair Kinghorn and Jamie Ritchie. Though he and Bradbury are just the wrong side of 20 to take part in this year’s Junior World Championship, he’s looking forward to a full pre-season as a professional player.

“Pre-season in a professional environment is great and I’ve come on so much this year. I’ve loved working with people like Grant Gilchrist, Anton Bresler – it takes you up a level. These guys are world-class second rows so it’s fantastic to be in that environment,” he said.

Image courtesy: Scottish Rugby/SNS Group

About David Barnes 4026 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.