CHRIS Leck has taken to the stage in the family band, bared all for a charity calendar and, as an Englishman in exile, has taken his fair share of flak north of the border.
So it is fair to say that the Edinburgh scrum half has never been one to duck out of a challenge.
With England hosting Scotland in the opening round of the Six Nations this afternoon, ‘hostilities’ have been cranked up a notch or two for the ex-Burnley player.
“There’s been a bit of stick flying around but I’m used it because it happens all the time,” said the 26-year-old former St Theodore’s High School pupil.
“But I have to admit, there has been a little bit more than usual ahead of the game.”
Leck won’t be at Twickenham but will be a keen observer in the Scottish capital.
He said: “I’m watching it with a few of the boys up here in Edinburgh as we are in the middle of two weeks intense training before our game against Munster next week.
“I think Scotland quietly fancy their chances and, having been up here for a few seasons, I can see why because they have some great players.
“Of course I want England to win but I would love to see Scotland do well during the Six Nations.”
Leck has his own happy memories of Twickenham having helped Lancashire win the senior County Cup in 2006. He also played for England at under 16s and under 18s – but he won’t be casting on envious eye on proceedings at rugby HQ, wondering about what could have been.
In fact, the Six Nations gave Leck his big break at the Murrayfield club.
Having come up through the ranks at Sale Sharks, Leck made the bold decision to move to Scotland but in his eyes, the timing was perfect.
“I didn’t have to really think too hard about coming up here. I was ready for a fresh challenge as my last season at Sale got a bit messy,” he said.
“We had three coaches in the same season and each had their own ideas who their preferred players were. Unfortunately, my face didn’t seem to fit so that last season I didn’t get much game time.”
In contrast, Leck hit the ground running north of the border.
“I went there at a good time because there was the World Cup and the Six Nations so I got a good chance to put myself in the window. So it was perfect timing for me really.”
Leck ended up playing 18 times that season – no mean feat when he was competing for the number nine jersey with Scotland internationals Greig Laidlaw and Mike Blair – and it culminated with ‘game time’ in the historic 19-14 Heineken Cup quarter final victory of Toulouse and the narrow 22-19 semi final defeat to Ulster.
“Those games are definitely the hightlight of my career,” said Leck. “It was the first time Edinburgh had got so far in the tournament. So to play in the semi final of the Heineken Cup is something I will remember for ever.
“That first season was very good for me. I was in a squad with two very good scrum halves but still got to play a lot of games.”
Leck’s form earned him a two-year extension to what had only been a one season contract. But there were also some ‘eye-catching’ performances off the pitch as well – namely a ‘raunchy’ calendar with his Edinburgh team-mates which raised £10,000 for Maggie’s Cancer Care.
But Leck has always been something of an exhibitionist and with dad Chris, who is head coach at Hawick RUFC, brother Dom and Kevin Singh – who both play for Burnley – perform in their own band.
“We haven’t performed for a while because we are flung all over the place but it is fair to say a reunion could be on the cards if we can all get together at the same time,” said Leck who plays the drums. “We’re called Cheap because we’re not good enough to charge!”
Leck played at Burnley until he was 14 before earning a scholarship at Rossall College and joining Sale Academy. But he still keeps in touch with his mates at his hometown club.
“I try to get back as often as I can, either to watch Dom and my mates play or to watch an international together,” he said. “I have some very happy memories from Burnley. It is where I first started playing the game so they were good times.”
Those early days on the muddy Burnley RUFC pitches set Leck up for the challenges that lay ahead – none of which he has ducked out of!