Director of Rugby Phil Davies felt the least his Cardiff Blues deserved was a draw after a thrilling encounter with Benetton Treviso - and spoke of his pride at the manner of the performance in Northern Italy.
An entertaining game at the Stadio Monigo saw Blues produce a stunning opening half to claim a 20-9 lead courtesy of tries from Chris Czekaj and Robin Copeland.
Treviso, who fielded 16 internationals in their match day squad, produced a just as impressive second half and two tries saw them claim a 26-23 lead going into the final ten minutes.
But the accurate boot of fly half Gareth Davies - who scored 16 points on the night – saw Blues claim a share of the spoils with four minutes to go.
And a grandstand finale from Blues saw them pile on the pressure in the closing seconds as the Italians clung onto a draw in the RaboDirect PRO12 fixture.
Davies said: “We are frustrated not to have won the game. But when you look at both sides, with 16 internationals in the Treviso squad and all our young players, the average age of our team was 22, in the end it is two points well claimed.
“The frustrating thing is the position we put ourselves in to win the game. It is a big, big learning curve for the young fellas.
“The first half was pretty much flawless. We had 60% possession and nearly 50% territory.
“That is what we had to be in the second half, be flawless again. But what we did show was plenty of character, we muscled up and we were pleased because we deserved that draw, if not more.
“We kept hold of the ball in the first half, went through a lot of phases and took some really good opportunities.
“We ran hard and we played in the right areas of the field. When we didn’t have the ball we defended resolutely which was great. I was pleased with and without the ball.”
Davies was also quick to praise the youngsters in his starting line-up as Academy wing Owen Jenkins impressed on his debut and Ellis Jenkins marked his first league start with an all-action display.
“We had young Owen Jenkins on the wing, an 18-year-old on his debut. For him to play like he did was fantastic,” he said. “He is another young player coming up who stepped up so we are very pleased by him.
“Ellis (Jenkins) was given his first start and he played well too. He was the Wales Under-20 captain last year and against (Alessandro) Zanniin the back row I think he did exceptionally well.
“I always felt they (Treviso) would come strong in the second half with all the experience they had out there,” added Davies.
“They made a few changes in the back line too and we knew that would be tough. But what we did do was stick in there, we were resolute and in the middle of the half and towards the end of the game we had a lot of momentum and could have snuck it.
“We had a few situations where I felt we could have had a penalty. But we didn’t get it and 26-26 is pleasing after the way we played and when you consider the inexperience we had. We are very proud of what the players have done.”