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Lewis shines for Scotland in Canada

By Gordon Calder

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A RUGBY player with Caithness connections will be in the starting line-up for Scotland when they take on the USA in a test match this weekend.

Lewis Carmichael, whose mother Maggie comes from Thurso, is winning his second international cap. He got his first when he came off the bench in the match against Canada last weekend.

Lewis made an immediate impact, and scored a try in Edmonton to help seal a 41-10 victory.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend confirmed the 23-year-old will start against America and praised his contribution in the Canada game.

“He took his opportunity well and had two outstanding runs when he came on,” the head coach said. “He showed aggression in the contact area which is unusual for a player winning his first cap. It is great to see. He played so well he deserves his chance to start.”

Maggie, whose maiden name was Gunn, was born and brought up in Springpark Terrace in Thurso and still has relatives in the north.

She moved to Edinburgh in the late 1970s to train as a nurse, and met and married Billy Carmichael. The couple live in North Berwick.

Billy went to Canada to watch last weekend’s game but Maggie watched on TV with two friends from Caithness, Marina and Graham Mackay, who also live in North Berwick.

Maggie said that it was unbelievable to watch Lewis come on with about 20 minutes to go and then get his first try.

“We were absolutely ecstatic,” she said. “It was his dream to play for Scotland and he worked so hard to achieve it. We were very, very emotional and were dancing round the living room.

“Our daughter Lyndsey was watching the game in Melbourne in Australia and my uncle Jimmy and his daughter Lorraine Sutherland were watching in Thurso, as were cousins and friends in Caithness, including my old school pal Janis Waters.”

Maggie and other members of the family will gather around the TV again this weekend as Lewis and his team-mates take on the USA in Houston in the early hours of Sunday morning (British time). The game is on the BBC.

Lewis, a lock forward who plays for Edinburgh Rugby, is a product of North Berwick RFC. He is the first player from North Berwick to win a Scotland cap at senior level.

In a statement after the Canada game, the club heralded the evening for both Lewis and North Berwick Rugby: “A club founded in 1952 has its first senior men’s Scotland player. Many congratulations to Lewis, his family and friends and all those who were involved in coaching him from when he started to play rugby at North Berwick High School. To get onto the pitch in Edmonton and score a try is a tremendous achievement.”

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