In three of their last five matches, Harlequins have scored over 40 points. They scored 54 against Cardiff, 47 against Ulster, and then 40 against Bath in their final match before they face Glasgow. But, the Warriors have had a lightning start to 2024 with five victories in six matches.

They face each other on Friday night in the Champions Cup round of 16. In this article, we will have a look at what the Warriors have to fear from Quins and where they may have the upper hand.

Glasgow will be nervous of Harlequins’ ability to score boatloads of points. They have shown that recently as we have highlighted above. However, that’s not been an overall trend.

READ MORE: Glasgow can be a match for anyone, says assistant Nigel Carolan

They have scored 360 Premiership points which is only good enough for sixth in the table and their points difference of +20 is only good enough for seventh.

While they are more than capable of putting up heavy totals, it’s not a consistent skill and Glasgow should be confident that they can pop a cork in their opponent’s ambitions. It’s worth looking at those recent high-scoring encounters to see what they have done well.

Andre Esterhuizen is arguably the biggest weapon at Quins and perhaps even the Premiership. He opened the scoring against Bath with a late crash ball line through the Bath defence. He plucked the pass from Danny Care from behind him once the defenders had discounted him.

Even without that sleight of hand, Esterhuizen is a concern for defenders. He is a big powerful runner but he’s also a very good distributor. If you load up on him, you open up spaces elsewhere.

Scotland Rugby News: The Harlequins attacking shape with Esterhuizen hitting the short line and Marcus Smith out the backThe Harlequins attacking shape with Esterhuizen hitting the short line and Marcus Smith out the back (Image: SNS)

We can see the benefit of the fear of Esterhuizen in this still. He draws the attentions of three Bath defenders but he distributes out the back to Marcus Smith rather than taking contact. Finn Russell ends up biting on the tip and Smith almost makes the break but for a terrific defensive effort from Miles Reid.

Particularly look for this threat from lineouts. Expect to see Esterhuizen used as the first receiver with a tip-on option, usually the outsider centre.

Marcus Smith will swing behind Esterhuizen and either receive the ball or push out for the second phase. It’s not overly complex but it is exceptionally stressful to defend because of the options created.

But teams have succeeded. Saracens limited them to just seven points scored. Partly this was because Saracens took an early lead and forced Quins to chase the game. Quins coughed up possession 29 times in that match, 11 in the first half. This is the Quins’ weak point - they can get on rolls both positively and negatively.

Scotland Rugby News: Harlequins Louis Lynagh scored for Italy against ScotlandHarlequins Louis Lynagh scored for Italy against Scotland (Image: PA)

Saracens started quickly and the Quins first two turnovers tell the tale of how this impacted them. The first was a high-risk cross kick from Marcus Smith in search of Alex Dombrandt, who never really had space and ended up fumbling into touch.

A few moments later, Smith fired a very flat pass to Esterhuizen but it bounced off him and was yet another turnover. By that point, Saracens were down two tries and also had a man in the bin.

It’s fairly obvious to suggest that starting fast is crucial - all teams should start fast. However, what Glasgow need to do is stop some of Harlequins standard attacking shapes early on.

Saracens, and Leicester Tigers, were able to stop forward progress early and force Quins into a risky attack further down the line. Tigers were 13-0 up by the half-hour mark, Saracens were 24-0 up by the same point. That forced Quins into high-risk chasing mode and they gifted more turnovers because of that.

Harlequins have attacking weapons all across the pitch. They have one of the best centres playing in the northern hemisphere, an elite fly-half, a pack who can distribute with ease, and back three players with lightning pace.

READ MORE: Harlequins vs Glasgow Warriors: A battle of high-scoring sides

They are a scary prospect. However, despite all those weapons they haven’t combined frequently enough to cause issues for their opponents.

The Warriors should be aware of the threat they pose but not overawed, a strong start and early success can push them towards a high-risk gameplan that Glasgow will be delighted to feed off.