Edinburgh let slip a match they should have won on Saturday, going down to a late penalty after having led for most of the game. But there were still plenty of positive aspects of the pre-season friendly, not least among them being the return of Lewis Carmichael from a 15-month injury lay-off.
After making a try-scoring debut against Canada in June 2018 then winning a second cap against the USA a week later, Carmichael was ruled out first by concussion then by an ACL rupture sustained in training.
It has been a long road back for the 24-year-old lock, but, with Grant Gilchrist and Ben Toolis away on World Cup duty, his return is coming at an opportune time. “I’m absolutely buzzing to be back out there,” he said after the loss to Ospreys. “It’s just under 15 months since I played my last game of rugby, so I’m glad to be back out there with the boys. It’s great for Grant Gilchrist and Ben Toolis to be away at the World Cup, but it’s also great for me and other younger guys like Jamie Hodgson that there are opportunities and we’ll get a bit of game time with those boys being away. It’s good for myself and for the squad to get those opportunities.”
Carmichael’s leadership in the lineout promises to be important to Edinburgh during the opening months of the Pro14 campaign, which begins a week on Saturday with a home game against Zebre. “Lineouts are something that I pride myself on,” he added. “I was calling the lineouts today for the first 55 minutes, when I came off, and I think they went very well. It’s something I’ve really enjoyed and hopefully I’ll continue to do so.”
During an impressive first hour and more against the Welsh side, key players such as Matt Scott, Mark Bennett and Pierre Schoeman all looked more than ready to make a flying start to the new campaign, with Scott scoring twice and his fellow centre Bennett laying on Edinburgh’s other try for Jamie Farndale. But Ospreys were never out of the running and fought back first from a 14-5 first-half deficit, then from 21-12 down.
Hooker Sam Parry had opened the scoring from a driven lineout, then Luke Morgan hauled them back into contention after a lapse in concentration by the Edinburgh defence. Scott Otten’s converted try ten minutes from time took them to within two points before Cai Evans kicked the winning penalty.