Carmichael Believes Edinburgh’s Depth is the Best It’s Ever Been

At a press conference on Tuesday, Edinburgh lock Lewis Carmichael was asked a range of questions from his side’s win over Scarlets, the challenge they expect from Connacht and returning to form following his long injury lay-off.

Lock Lewis Carmichael will be key to Edinburgh’s forward pack whilst the club’s internationalists are away. (Photo: Edinburgh Rugby twitter)

Edinburgh Rugby have long provided valued forwards to the Scotland international set-up, and this Six Nations tournament has been no different, though the club is now providing backs as well.

This year, 17 of the club’s players were named in the original Scottish Six Nations team. And so, with the Pro14 still in action, players like Lewis Carmichael are being called upon to lead Edinburgh through the weeks in which they are void of their international contingent.

“Just at training, you look at the talent that’s in our squad and it’s ridiculous,” Carmichael said on Tuesday. “It’s good that you get guys that get opportunities that they might not get during the normal season. It’s great for us, great for training and great for these games coming up. We’ve got a lot of confidence in the boys.”

In such a crucial run of games – Edinburgh are in the midst of three back-to-back games against conference B rivals Scarlets, Connacht and Cardiff Blues – it is pivotal to Edinburgh’s season to have younger players like Carmichael step-up to the plate.

“It’s good having a confidence that you’ve got such good strength in depth of players that it’s almost like you’re just rotating,” Carmichael explained. “It’s not like they’re the first string and you’re second string kind of thing.

“So, yeah, it’s definitely good to have that strength in depth. And I think it’s the best it’s ever been at the club to be honest. I think Cockers has been doing that well since he’s come in and he’s just been building that depth, in all positions – so I don’t think we’d be weak in any position right now. We’ve got great depth.”

The club’s depth was boosted when 24-year-old Carmichael returned from a near 15 month long injury at the beginning of the 2019/20 season. The lock had sustained a nasty ACL injury, but he is looking to gradually rebuild the form which saw him earn his first Scotland caps in the summer of 2018.

“Getting there, each game. I never like to think that I’m a finished article or a finished product yet. But with each game, I feel like I’m getting more into my kind of rhythm. I don’t think I’m maybe quite just there yet, but I feel like with each game I’m moving in the right direction.”

The game time he has been getting recently will certainly be doing him no harm, especially since Carmichael is expected to be key to the Edinburgh lineout in seasons to come.

“It’s good for myself, in getting game time,” Carmichael admitted. “And it’s good for other boys coming through as well. It only strengthens the overall squad, these guys getting opportunities during the Six Nations – outside the Six Nations they might not get that. It’s only a positive for us.”

Edinburgh head in to this weekend’s game against Connacht at the top of the conference B table. Though the team are fully aware of their league standing, Carmichael explained they’re not allowing it to consume their attention and are instead remaining focused on all the games still to come this season.

“Obviously the boys know that if we finish first it’s a much easier draw, and much easier to get that home semi-final. It’s not really talked about, we just go week by week, who we’ve got next, and obviously these three games are huge because all three teams are in our conference. So, it’s a pretty big couple of weeks.”

The next game of their big couple of weeks sees Connacht travel to BT Murrayfield this Friday for a 7:35pm kick-off, with the game being broadcast on Premier Sports 2.

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