Richie Rees has praised Cardiff Blues A's senior players for leading by example, following his side's Celtic Cup bonus point win over Dragons on Friday.
Wales’ Capital Region’s A side got their campaign up-and-running at Rodney Parade, picking up five points in the process, following an Aled Summerhill try and a brace each for Dan Fish and Tom Williams.
Rees believes senior players - such as Fish, Steven Shingler and Macauley Cook - have a crucial role to play in the youngsters’ development and has been impressed by their attitude.
“Full credit goes to the boys. Some of the more senior players stepped up and helped the side,” said Rees.
“The likes of Dan Fish, Macauley Cook, Liam Belcher - they were outstanding. Their experience really helps the younger boys along.
“Dan Fish, you can’t shut him up at the best of times, but he was superb throughout the game as were Aled Summerhill and Tom Williams. But we have youngsters that can come in when we lose a couple of the senior players.
“Steven Shingler is another example of someone who has experienced some high-end, quality rugby, we’ve asked him to come down to this environment and he’s been excellent.
“We have a tight group, and it’s an environment we’re looking to create, and the senior boys have really driven that. But it’s going to be difficult, as we’re losing a couple of the senior boys who are going to Italy to fill some spots next week.
“The players need to continue to drive it from within. We need to perform at that level.”
Quickfire second half tries from Williams and Summerhill saw the Blues rack up a 37-7 lead, before late consolations scores for the hosts came from Taine Basham and Jarrad Rosser.
Rees was pleased to see his side implement the game plan accurately, but is expecting a tough test this week as his side travel to Dublin to take on Leinster A.
The former Wales scrum half said: “The boys stood out and we created opportunities when we had to. That was key, especially in the first 15-20 minutes after half time. We went into the second half with a game plan and effectively killed the game.
“The fact that we finished the game with six front-rowers on the field tells the story of the game, who is ended up. We picked up a few injuries.
“We scored tries when we needed to and definitely got something out of the game, moving on to next week in Dublin.
“The brand of rugby we try to play is towards our strength, which is expansive, attacking rugby, and credit goes to the boys.
“There will always be work-ons, but you have to remember the injuries we picked up on the way.
“Defensively, Melon [Gethin Jenkins] will never be happy and in attack, we probably didn’t string as many phase-plays, shapes and patterns as much as we’d like to, but that was the game panned out. You can only play the hand that is dealt to you.
“The boys were excellent, I can’t give them enough credit and we’re happy, so we’ll have a quiet couple of days to get ready for next week.
“It’s not going to get any easier with Leinster away next week. They’ll probably have around 10 of the 23 that faced our senior side last week.
“It’s a good competition, and that’s why we’re in it. We’re looking to test these young players and expose them to that skill level and decision-making under pressure. That’s how you’re going to get better.
“Hopefully we can get something out of next week, and if we continue to learn from it, that’s all we ask.”