Defence Coach Dale McIntosh demanded Cardiff Blues show more 'physicality' as they opened pre-season with a 24-17 defeat to Exeter Chiefs at BT sport Cardiff Arms Park.
Summer signing George Watkins opened his try scoring account with a first half try and Chris Dicomidis and Ellis Jenkins crossed the whitewash in a final flurry.
However, McIntosh insisted that, despite a second half fight-back, the Blues needed to focus on banishing the memories of a disappointing opening 40 minutes as the Chiefs scored three tries to take control.
“It’s about the performance tonight and that was a game of two halves - that is a problem for us,” he said.
“We’ve trained exceptionally well and worked hard, both on the endurance side as well as the technical and tactical side.
“The challenge tonight was to put that into fruition under pressure. We didn’t achieve that in the first half and put ourselves under pressure time and time again.
“Some of the tries were soft. In all fairness, it was a good driving maul that they scored from just before half-time. But the other two were just soft – it should not have happened.”
Blues were missing all the Wales internationals that toured South Africa in the summer and McIntosh believes when they return they will boost the team and raise standards.
“The squad was mixed up today and we have some very big game players to come back. We were happy with some individuals and not so happy with others,” he said.
“What it gives us is an honest measurement and I think it’s going to be a red fortnight in training before Leicester Tigers away because we lacked physicality. A red fortnight means blood on blood and hard work.
“Mark (Hammett) was watching and we all see the same picture. We are in a good place once the senior players come back into the playing environment. Standards straight away excel. But we have a lot of work to do.
“We are happy with the squad,” added McIntosh. “Realistically we had seven potential members of the pack not out there today. Perhaps that is where we struggled in the first half.
“Our set piece was good, our scrum went well and we won our lineout ball in the first half.
“But we didn’t turn possession into points; we weren’t aggressive enough and we weren’t good enough without the ball. The other players will come back in and sort that out.”