As befits the home player with the most recent experience of confronting Heineken European Cup opponents, Toulouse, Chris Leck is eagerly hoping for an Edinburgh Rugby debut in the competition during today’s eagerly-awaited quarter-final at Murrayfield.
Scrum half Leck, 25, has only previously appeared for seven minutes in Northern Hemisphere rugby’s blue riband event. That was for previous club Sale Sharks when they went down 13-19 to the four-times champions two years ago, ahead of his move to Edinburgh.
Recalls Leck: “If I get on this will be the biggest game of my career. My previous experience of facing Toulouse was short but it still taught me this will be as close to international rugby as it gets. In fact, to see the authorities budgeting for this as they would a Scotland game in pulling out the crowds has added even more to the buzz.”
During his previous stint against the black-and-reds, Leck initially found himself confronted at scrum half by Jean-Baptiste Ellisale (35 caps for France) before he was replaced by 57-times capped All Black Byron Kelleher.
“I was certainly in at the deep end,” reflected Leck, adding “and I was able to see that if you give a team like Toulouse an opportunity to counter-attack through spilling the ball then they can be the best. We can’t cough up easy chances or they’ll convert them into points.
“At the same time they are as unpredictable as only a French team can be. On their day they can be the best but if Edinburgh play as well as we can play it is there for the taking with a 30,000+ home crowd behind us.”
Former England Under-18 cap Chris has signed on for another two years at Edinburgh where he has been in such demand providing cover and expertise during both the World Cup and Six Nations that he has been half-back partner to no fewer than four stand offs.
“The fact I’ve lined up alongside Gregor Hunter, Harry Leonard, Phil Godman and Greig Laidlaw just goes to show how much competition there is at Edinburgh.
“Gregor and Harry are young lads full of potential. It was great to see Gregor land a trip to New Zealand on a scholarship this week while Harry has such a mature head on him that he may only be 19 but he has already had three European Cup starts.
“Phil Godman used his experience to land the last-minute drop goal that won us the group match at Racing Metro on the way to qualifying and Greig Laidlaw has deservedly been included in the long list for this season’s European player of the year award.
“What I have seen, sometimes from close up, is the consistency that Greig produces every week. A lot of the time he is the best player on the park, a great leader who tells everyone what he wants.
“I believe it is possible to prepare for this game as we would any other but I also know what we can and cannot do – and above all what an opportunity it is for Edinburgh Rugby who have really welcomed me on board since I previously had an outing against Toulouse.”