Richard Hodges was proud of his side's attitude and performance during Saturday's Anglo-Welsh Cup defeat to defending champions, Leicester Tigers.
Wales’ Capital Region were 17-points down at half time, but second half tries from Jack Roberts and Lewis Jones saw them battle back to narrow the hosts’ lead to five points
However, a Luke Hamilton score saw the Aviva Premiership outfit seal the victory to maintain their unbeaten streak in the competition.
Hodges was delighted with how the Blues reacted during the second half, where they outscored their opponents, following an ill-disciplined opening 40.
“It was a big second half performance. The penalty count at half time was at eight to one, which tells the story about what the issues were during the first half,” said Hodges.
“We thought we might be starting down the barrel, being 17-0 down at half time, but the second half ended up being 12-7 to us and I was really delighted and proud of the way the team stuck at it.
“We managed to get into our shape, especially with our kicking game, which meant we were finishing sets on a positive note.
“Another real pleasing factor was the scrum. Our scrum in the second half was excellent, we had a few penalties off that and the young front five we had out there put in a really good shift.
“We got back within five points, we got the momentum and they put the kick off long, and we didn’t manage to get much territory out of the clearance. They had a line-out on the edge of our 22 and got a maul try off that.
“But as I said, the boys stuck at it and we’re in a very different place compared to sides we face in this competition. We had six or seven boys making their debuts today who usually play local, club rugby.”
With a host of first team players rested ahead of a return to Guinness PRO14 action in a fortnight, as well as six called-up to Wales’ senior squad for the NatWest Six Nations, several of the region’s promising youngsters were handed an opportunity to impress at Welford Road.
Hodges, who has previously highlighted the impact of the Anglo-Welsh Cup on youngsters such as Owen Lane, was pleased with the manner which the academy members conducted themselves throughout the week.
Hodges said: “I’ve been immensely proud of how they’re adapted to a professional training week and a lot of them have taken the opportunity to learn from it.
“They stuck to the task at one of the best European arenas, but we’ll look back at the game on Monday and see we had opportunities to win that game.
“The likes of Owen Lloyd, Joe Miles and Alun Lawrence are very new to this level but were out there going toe-to-toe with the opposition.
“They brought four internationals on from the bench, but we still kept going and managed to get territory and possession.
“I’m proud of how those boys have done and hopefully it shows that a lot of them can have a good future at Cardiff Blues."