Lewis Carmichael announces retirement from pro rugby aged 26

Former Edinburgh and Scotland back-five forward has hung up his boots on medical advice

Lewis Carmichael has announced his retirement from professional rugby. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Lewis Carmichael has announced his retirement from professional rugby. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

EDINBURGH back-five forward Lewis Carmichael has announced his retirement from professional rugby on medical advice at the age of 26.

The former North Berwick and Melrose player made the first of his 47 appearances for Edinburgh against Munster in September 2016. He also had a spell playing for Western Force in Australia in early 2017.

He represented Scotland at Under-18, Under-20 and then senior level, making his debut for the national team against Canada in the summer of 2018 then picking up his second and final full cap against the USA the following week.

However, recent seasons have been haunted by long-term injuries, and Carmichael explained that he is both sad to be bringing the curtain down on his career just as he should have been reaching his peak and proud of what he achieved in the short time he had.

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“I’m obviously gutted I’ll no longer be playing professional rugby but I know it’s the right decision having discussed my situation with a number of specialists and the medical teams at both Edinburgh Rugby and Scottish Rugby,” he said.

“With Edinburgh Rugby, the breakthrough season that I had in 2017-18 was pretty special. I played a lot of rugby that year,” he added.

“That win over in Ulster in 2018 – which saw Duncy Weir slot a last-minute drop goal – was definitely one of my rugby highlights and then, before that, getting my first Edinburgh cap over in Munster in 2016 was pretty special too.

“I really do look back on my memories with Edinburgh with great fondness – the connections I’ve made with teammates will be friendships that I have for the rest of my days.

“It was obviously a huge honour and dream come true getting my first cap for Scotland against Canada. My dad was out there and saw me play, so it was just an amazing feeling and a really proud moment for my family.”

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Carmichael is now working in partnership with Scottish Rugby’s player support programme – Rugby for Life – and is enrolled in a career planning course that will help him transition into life post-playing.

“Looking ahead, I’ve not made any final decisions on what I want to do next season but, as a rugby fan, I’m really keen to stay in the sport in some capacity and do some coaching,” he said.

“There’s nothing nailed down at the moment but I’m going to take a bit of time to just relax and plan my next steps – I’m excited for that next challenge.”

Edinburgh Rugby head coach Richard Cockerill said: “As a club, we’re obviously gutted for Lewis. It’s never easy to see any player step away from the game at a young age.

“He’s a good man, and a player that has given a lot to Edinburgh Rugby over the years. He’ll be sorely missed by the coaching staff and squad, and we wish him all the very best.”

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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.


  1. He made me stand up and take notice when I watched him play in first game for Scotland against Canada. He really looked an exciting player. I wish him all the best.

  2. Shame to see a young player, who promised so much when he first broke through, being forced into early retirement.

    With Melrose in the Premiership and in his pre-injury days at Edinburgh, he definitely looked like one for the future. I wish him all the best for the rest of his life.

  3. always gutting to hear of young player to retire before their time, i think it will unfortunately become the norm. sam warburton was 29 when he retired dont forget

    players getting bigger, more powerful, playing more often with the incresed speed of the game all a factor, whilst rugby in my opinion is benefiting players are unfortunately loosing.

    All the best in whats next Lewis.

    • Good point Teej.

      I think a pro football career in the US averages less than 2 years. Would be interesting to see the stats on pro rugby.

      Best wishes to Lewis.

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