Fin Baxter: “Glasgow tie is a bit more than the next game for us”

Fin Baxter will be hoping to make another impact against Glasgow in the Champions Cup

This Friday night, Harlequins take on Glasgow Warriors in the Champions Cup Round of 16 as they aim to back up their pulsating Premiership win against Bath by creating club history.

Glasgow - who currently sit second in the United Rugby Championship - will arrive at the Twickenham Stoop in good spirits but Quins will be desperate to win their first-ever knockout game in Europe’s top competition.

“You look at Glasgow and fair play, the last three or four years they have been in that top four of the URC at this stage of the season and at the moment, they are currently second and in the knockout stages of Europe so they are doing really well,” said current Harlequins head coach Danny Wilson.

“Going into Friday night, we are playing a very good side, a large budget side in Europe and a team full of internationals. They are extremely dangerous as we know, and we will have to be on the top of our game to get a good win.”

This weekend, Wilson will be coming up against his former club. He exited Glasgow almost two years ago following the Warriors’ heavy 76-14 loss to Leinster in the URC quarter-finals, but now he is focused on helping Quins progress.

The London club have never made it past the quarter-finals and have fallen at this stage of the competition in the last two seasons, but wins against Ulster, Cardiff and most notably away in Paris against Racing 92 secured Quins a home tie.

“We are chuffed to be at home [on Friday],” Wilson added. “It’s really important to be at home and hopefully we can make the most of it.”

And ‘making the most of it’ certainly applies to young loosehead prop Fin Baxter who has grasped every opportunity he has been given this season.

The 22-year-old has stood out in his 19 appearances, already equalling his total from last term.

And with the carrot of facing either Bordeaux-Begles or Saracens in the quarter-finals, Baxter is relishing the occasion.

“I haven’t been involved in many of these knockout games where winning means everything and it's pure knockout where you are through to the next round and it’s something I’m really excited about,” Baxter said. “It doesn’t change too much going into it, but it does give that extra edge.”

Despite leading 40-3 against Bath last week, Quins were made to dig deep as the visitors so nearly completed a remarkable comeback. Amid the chaos at the Stoop, Baxter put in another solid shift for his side and he is fully aware he will have to replicate that against a powerful Glasgow pack.

Baxter, who starts on Friday night, added: “That’s been the thing that has come with more game time, in scrummaging against different tightheads because at the end of the day, if it doesn’t go well, that shows you the level of where you need to be at in order to be at the top end of the game and if you are, you know you’ve got your neck in it and they (Glasgow) have some high-quality props so hopefully it will go well.

“As a team, we have taken another step from last year and parts of our game have come on that weren’t very established and we’ve widened our game and made sure we can win games not just using our Quins flair.

“It [Friday] is a bit more than the next game for us as it’s a chance to create some Quins history in making it through to the second knockout game in Europe and it’s something we are eager to do."