RUGBY starlet Lewis Carmichael was “really excited” as he signed a short-term deal to play for a top Australian club.
The 21-year-old lock, from North Berwick, has agreed a deal to play for the Western Force for the remainder of the Super Rugby season – which runs until the summer.
He has made 12 appearances for Edinburgh Rugby this term, but has found himself down the pecking order with the return of Anton Bresler from a long-term injury.
Ahead of his departure to Perth, where the North Berwick star is living close to sister Lyndsey, the former U20 and Club International XV cap said: “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.
“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.”
The deal is part of Carmichael’s “personal player development plan”, according to Scottish Rugby, whose director of rugby, Australian Scott Johnston, was influential in sealing the four-month deal.
He added: “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 a 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.”
Lewis and Lyndsey’s mum Mags, meanwhile, said she was “so, so proud” of the 21-year-old, who will link up with Wallabies Adam Coleman, Ben McCalman, Tatafu Polota-Nau and Dane Haylett-Petty at his new club.
The Force host South African outfit The Kings on Sunday, before welcoming 2012 and 2013 winners The Chiefs and defending champions The Lions to Perth.
His move does, though, mean Carmichael will miss out on a potential domestic double with Melrose, who are in the BT Cup final and the BT Premiership play-offs.