Local lock Lewis to join the pro ranks

Continuing the aim of integrating young Scottish players into the professional set-up, Edinburgh Rugby confirm the signing of lock Lewis Carmichael on a two-year deal.

He said: “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’s seen the potential and has belief in me.”

The Edinburgh-born, former North Berwick HS pupil 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 said: “I played with North Berwick all through school level, joined from minis and when I left school went to Melrose, which is where I’ve been playing my club rugby.”

In 2014, with the Borders club, he was in the starting XV who secured the RBS Premiership title at the Greenyards, in the win over Currie.

Carmichael's first try for Scotland under-20 secured the side's 36-34 victory over Wales in February 2015, and he crossed the line to score Scotland's sole try in the World Rugby under-20 Championship opener against New Zealand, last June.

He said: “I was awarded a BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy contract last summer though, since coming for pre-season, I’ve actually been training with Edinburgh for the whole year now.

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.”

Carmichael came through the age grades with young Edinburgh professionals 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.

“The club is great. Everyone speaks to everyone, there are no egos, all the players are down to earth and welcoming which makes you be yourself.”

Head coach Alan Solomons said: "Lewis is a talented young Scottish lock who has made good progress this season and shown that he has what it takes to be a pro player.

“We are pleased that he has decided to remain with us and look forward to continuing to play a role in his development."

Edinburgh Rugby signings for the 2016/17 season

Carmichael’s commitment to the club brings the total to 24 signings to the club for next season, additional to those already committed to Edinburgh until the end of May 2017 and beyond. The list kicked off in early December 2015 with Scottish age grade back row Jamie Ritchie extending his contract for another three years.

Lewis Carmichael *
George Turner *
Grant Gilchrist **
Fraser McKenzie •
Solomoni Rasolea
Sean Kennedy *
Nathan Fowles *
Glenn Bryce *
Rory Scholes

Ross Ford **

Allan Dell *

Simon Berghan *
Tom Brown **

Phil Burleigh

Cornell Du Preez
Neil Cochrane *
Duncan Weir **
Damien Hoyland **
Stuart McInally **
Sam Hidalgo-Clyne **
Chris Dean *
Alasdair Dickinson **
Ben Toolis **

Jamie Ritchie *

* Scottish qualified
** Scotland internationalist

On loan until 31 May 2016
Jason Tovey

Edinburgh take on Cardiff at BT Murrayfield on Saturday 7 May (k/o 3pm) in the final match of the season, aiming for a place in the top six of the Guinness PRO12 and a spot in the top tier of European competition next season.

Tickets can be purchased online, via phone on 0131 346 5180 and in person from the Ticket Centre in Roseburn Street.