Rugby: Edinburgh eyeing Chris of life after week of soul-searching

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Defiant scrum half Chris Leck has pledged that Llanelli Scarlets will feel the full force of an Edinburgh Rugby backlash at Murrayfield tonight.

The Capital outfit have now gone five matches without a win and one of the blackest periods in their history has seen them open the latest Heineken European Cup campaign without registering a point in their two fixtures.

But in Edinburgh’s favour is the fact that Scarlets have triumphed only once in nine visits to Murrayfield and Leck is determined that should be extended. He said: “Nobody is hurting more than the coach and the players. It’s been a disappointing two weeks, as we are a decent attacking side.

“We are looking for a reaction this week. We definitely want to make someone suffer and we need a reaction. I’ve no doubt there will be one especially as we could go up to fifth in the league (from ninth). It is that tight.”

Leck is desperate to seize his opportunity as one of nine new faces coming into the starting line-up following last weekend’s thrashing in Munster.

During his debut campaign last season, the ex-Sale Sharks man started nine games and came on as sub in 11, including a memorable cameo display from off the bench when Toulouse were beaten in the Heineken Cup quarter-final.

This time round, his only start came at home to Treviso in the last league fixture before the European break as Richie Rees slipped into the starting spot vacated by Mike Blair. “It’s the sort of thing everyone has to accept, the coach picking the side he sees fit. He sees what attributes players bring and Richie is a quality (Welsh) international player. It would be nice to get a bit more time but I have to bide my time and hopefully I can stamp my mark on the game this week.”

The match could be the last before many of Edinburgh’s 12 strong international contingent depart to concentrate on 
Autumn Test preparations.

Leck, who forms a half-back partnership with Harry Leonard for the first time since Dragons were encountered at Murrayfield in March, says: “We struggled for results last time we were without the international lads and it is important to turn that around this year, but don’t forget there were times during the Test window when we went down by just a point (14-15) to Ospreys (who went on to win the competition).”

In his relatively short time at Edinburgh, Leck has partnered five stand-offs – Greig Laidlaw, Phil Godman, Gregor Hunter and Leonard – so he is well placed to judge development.

“Harry is starting to grow and is capable of bossing others around, which you have to do in that position. It is good to see from a younger player. We’ve all been involved in a lot of analysis this week in which we have broken our game back down to find out where we are at. Nobody likes to lose the way we have in the past couple of weeks and especially on television. As soon as it does click it will be good to see. I guarantee that. There have been strong words in the changing-room but that has been needed.

“Now we have to go out remembering it is not that long ago we were capable of beating Toulouse and, if you can beat them, you can beat any side.”

Edinburgh will move Nick De Luca from outside to inside centre in an effort to exert greater influence. The Murrayfield men will be boosted by the fact a total of 14 players from the Scarlets squad are unavailable for selection, while they still await the arrival of South African prop Jacobie Adriaans.

Simon Easterby’s side won at Glasgow this season but the Scarlets coach said: “Edinburgh will see every game now as an opportunity to turn things around.

“We’ve had a couple of good results up there in the last couple of years after a few years of not travelling well in Scotland.”