Three little words have been at the heart of Glasgow Warriors’ winning start to the season according to centre Sam Johnson: opportunity, brutality and accuracy.

The Scotstoun-based club goes into the European Champions Cup this weekend having won all six of its Guinness Pro14 matches, but aware that the level is about to be raised.

Just a week after making their first trip to South Africa where they beat Pro14 newcomers Free State Cheeetahs, they are on the road again this week to the west country where they will meet Exeter Chiefs.

The reigning English champions are among three class sides Glasgow must compete with in the course of their forthcoming campaign.

They play host to three time European champions Leinster the following weekend ahead of back to back meetings in December with Montpellier who are coached by former Scotland head coach Vern Cotter and are currently second in the French Top 14.

Saturday’s match is arguably the toughest they will have to deal with and the timing could have been better since they had to contend with playing at altitude as well as a lengthy trip last weekend.

However they have drawn confidence from the way they competed to the very end in testing conditions, as Johnson pointed out.

“It was a tough game but the boys just kept working for each other,” said the centre who arrived at Glasgow two years ago after previous playing for Super Rugby’s Queensland Reds.

“I suppose the intensity we play at was not something the Cheetahs were used and I think that worked in the end.”

The Warriors have previously struggled to step up from their domestic competition and have yet to win a knockout match in Europe’s top competition.

However the hope is that New Zealander Dave Rennie’s recruitment can help them battle on both fronts and Johnson reckoned he has gone some way towards toughening them up.

“What Dave and the rest of the coaching staff has instilled this year staff has instilled this year is a bit of brutality,” he said.

“So going into games I’ve got three words I try to think of, and that’s: opportunity, brutality and accuracy. It’s about getting the work-rate around the park and I think it has gone alright so far.”

On a personal level that requires considerable mental strength since Johnson is no giant in terms of modern midfield play.

“Especially in South Africa, they were giants,” he acknowledged, with a wry grin.

“I watched a Currie Cup game beforehand and thought: ‘What am I doing here?’ But you’ve just got to put you head in some dark places sometimes and have a crack.

“It wasn’t enjoyable but I suppose it is part of the job description.”

In many ways, then, it was the ideal preparation for what lies in wait this weekend when they take on the Chiefs in their own backyard.

“They’re Aviva Premiership champions from last season so they are going to play with a real intent, but we’ve just to go out there and match them – even beat them – in the first 20 and continue on,” said Johnson.

“It’s those same three words, every weekend, but this is our first opportunity in Europe and everyone is buzzing for it. It’s going to be a big week, so we go out there with the opportunity and the brutality in the tackle area and the accuracy in our attack.”