Danny Wilson expressed his pride at Cardiff Blues' performance against Leinster as attention turns to a European Challenge Cup quarter-final with Gloucester.
The Blues slipped to a nail-biting 22-21 defeat to the Irish province in Dublin and had opportunities to snatch a result.
Leinster dominated large periods of the hard-fought encounter and had the edge up front but the Blues defended heroically and struck for three counter-attack tries with deadly precision.
Wilson said: “I said to the boys before the game that we have to come off the field and be able to look each other in the eye and be proud of our effort. I’m certainly proud of their effort today.
“To come away to Leinster and to lose by one-point and to have two clear cut opportunities to win the game is something we have to be proud of and people can get behind.
“There are a lot of plusses. We defended against huge pressure, a lot of field position.
“For the most of the game we defended their lineout and drive and our lineout functioned quite well, and we scored three great tries off turnover.
“There are a lot of positives in there but ultimately the difference between the two teams was that power game they can play.
“Hopefully we can build on that performance going into Gloucester next weekend.
“We have a game that can test Gloucester, there’s a couple of things we need to improve on and we’ll work hard this week to get that right.”
The slender defeat at the RDS ensures Cardiff Blues remain eighth in the Guinness PRO12 with any hope of a top six finish slipping away.
There are still play-off places to contend for, which could secure a place in next season’s European Champions Cup but for now the focus is on the Challenge Cup and next weekend’s quarter-final with Gloucester.
The Blues face the Cherry and Whites at Kingsholm on Saturday, April 1 (8.00pm).
Wilson added: “This game (Leinster) will hopefully give us some confidence in terms of how close we have come to beating a European heavyweight away from home.
“We now have to back that up and go one step further at Kingsholm.”