Richard Hodges has urged Cardiff Blues' youngsters to learn the painful lessons of a heavy defeat to Exeter Chiefs and respond against the Ospreys on Friday.
The Blues were put to the sword by a far more experienced Exeter outfit who claimed a 62-25 victory at Sandy Park.
While Hodges’ side had an average age of just 20-years-old, with many still in college, he insists it is no excuse.
He said: “Exeter have got a bigger squad and budget, it was a great occasion for the boys and the first time a lot of them have experienced that but we can’t make excuses.
“A lot of what we produced today was naïve and poor at times. We are better than what we showed and some of the players are better individually than they showed. It was a tough, tough day.
“It’s how we react to that and learn from it. It’s a massive step up for some boys who are coming out of college rugby, also for the likes of Hemi (Barnes) coming from Premiership rugby.
“It gives us an opportunity to learn more about our players and at times, particularly in the second-half, once we got to grips with the game-plan we got some return.
“But yellow cards killed us at times and we had boys who have come from schoolboy rugby to playing at that level – it’s a massive step up.
“We have a five-day turnaround now going into the Ospreys and we have to learn some lessons pretty quickly.”
The Blues face the Ospreys at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Friday night and will be champing at the bit.
Hodges expects to have a similar group of players available and is looking forward to seeing their collective character.
He added: “We go into a five-day turnaround but this is the exact fixture we need. It’s a local, Welsh derby at home, we haven’t played the Ospreys at home in a long time because we usually play at the Principality Stadium so It’s a chance to get them on our pitch.
“Everything is against us but let’s see what we’re like in a bit of adversity.”