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Edinburgh sign rugby's tallest player Rob Carmichael from Leicester

By Ian Cameron
Rob Carmichael of Leicester Tigers poses for a portrait during the squad photocall for the 2023-2024 Gallagher Premiership Rugby season at Mattioli Woods Welford Road Stadium on September 22, 2023 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Edinburgh have today confirmed the acquisition of towering second row Rob Carmichael – rugby union’s tallest player.

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The 20-year-old Leicester Tigers lock joins on a three-year contract after arriving in the Scottish capital on an initial loan which is set to become permanent this summer.

Born in Hong Kong to a Scottish father and an English/Welsh mother Carmichael’s journey in rugby began at Sandy Bay RFC before moving back to the UK in 2019.

Joining the Tigers academy he quickly made his mark making two Premiership Cup appearances and playing for England U20 while still eligible to represent Scotland thanks to his ancestry.

At 6’11” or 210cm, Carmichael is a smidge taller than 6’10.5″ South African JP du Preez and 6’10” Scotland veteran Richie Gray – both of whom are playing at local URC rivals Glasgow Warriors – making him the tallest professional rugby player currently active.  The only threat to Carmichael’s crown as the sport’s tallest is Juan Oosthuyzen, who plays varsity rugby for Toyo University in Japan. If he was to turn professional he would grab the crown at 212cm, or 6’11.5″.

“This is a massive move for me and an incredible opportunity I’ve been given,” said Carmichael. “I’m delighted to join and I’m really glad I’ve been able to make the move to Edinburgh early on loan. I’ve only heard great things about the club.

“I’ve wanted to live in Scotland my whole life so I’m glad I’m able to make the move now. Edinburgh is an incredible city, while my parents and whole extended family are really excited that I’ve joined a Scottish club.

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“I think it’s going to be great for my development and I can’t wait to learn off the experienced second-rows at the club. I just want to add as much as I can to the team and see how much I can improve as a player. I know I’ve got loads to learn.”

Balancing studies in Sports Science at the University of Nottingham with his rugby commitments Carmichael excelled in BUCS Super Rugby. His performances earned him a spot in the England U20 squad for the 2023 U20 Six Nations, where he featured in all five games.

Edinburgh Rugby Head Coach Sean Everitt said: “We’re delighted to welcome Rob [Carmichael] to the club. He’s a player with great raw ability who has all the physical tools to succeed at the next level.

“We’ve been looking at Rob for a while given his Scotland links and we’re thankful to Tigers who’ve released him on an initial loan. He’ll be able to get his feet in the door and hit the ground running ahead of joining on a long-term deal this summer.”

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Carmichael is training with Edinburgh’s senior squad as they gear up for their upcoming BKT United Rugby Championship clash against Ospreys at Hive Stadium on March 1.

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finn 29 minutes ago
Massive red flag raised by weakened Champions Cup teams – Andy Goode

I wonder if the problem of some teams not taking it that seriously would be helped by making performance in the champions cup count towards qualification and/or seeding in the following year’s competition. Eg. top four seeds would be winners of the URC, premiership, and top 14, plus best performing team in the previous year’s CC who have not otherwise qualified. Doing that the seedings for this years comp. would have been: Tier one: Saracens - Munster - Toulouse - la Rochelle Tier two: Sale - Stormers - Racing 92 - Leinster Tier three: Leicester - Connacht - Bordeaux - Exeter Tier four: Northampton - Ulster - Lyon - Sharks Tier five: Harlequins - Glasgow - Stade Francais - Edinburgh Tier six: Bath - Bulls - Toulon - Ospreys The competition would probably work better with fewer teams, so I’d probably favour only the first 4 tiers being invited, and then going straight to a quarter final without a round of 16. On the one hand this would possibly incentivise teams to take the champions cup seriously, and on the other it would mean that the latter stages would be more likely to involve teams that have demonstrated a willingness to take the competition seriously. The main differences between my proposed system and the actual draw is that mine would give la Rochelle a fairly easy ride to the quarters, and would either exclude the Bulls entirely or would give then an insurmountably difficult draw. As it happened Exeter got quite an easy pool draw but that was a bit of a fluke. My system would reward Exeter for being one of the teams that demonstrably devote a lot of attention to the CC by guaranteeing them a good draw.

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