Richie Rees was pleased with the quality of rugby as Cardiff Blues A warmed-up for the Celtic Cup with a narrow loss to their Scarlet counterparts.
The new A-team raced into a 19-0 lead in their inaugural outing, at Cardiff Met’s Cyncoed Campus but were unable to build upon their early dominance.
Following tries from Alun Lawrence, from the back of a dominant scrum, Dane Blacker and Cam Lewis, the Blues looked in full control but the Scarlets hit back with three of their own.
They went into the break 19-all but the Scarlets were first to take the initiative in the second-half adding a penalty and a converted try before Lawrence claimed a consolation at the death.
Rees, who is heading up the A-team coaching staff, which also included Thomas Rhys Thomas, Gethin Jenkins and George Earle, was naturally disappointed to see such a comprehensive lead slip but he insists performance and exposing young players to such a high quality of rugby was most important.
He said: “The result always matters but I think particularly as it was a friendly, with two big squads there, both rolling out a lot of 18-year-olds, the most important thing was about trying to expose them to that level of rugby.
“The burning goal is to get bigger strength in depth and even if we bring in six 18-year-olds and three of them come through long-term in the top end of the game then that’s a success.
“I thought few of the boys stood up well, Ben Thomas and Max Llewellyn when they came on in the second-half were lively, it’s a shame Dane Blacker went off with a knock but it’s all about giving boys opportunities.
“Azza (Keiron Assiratti) did well, Carre (Rhys) did wel,l and had some big moments in his carries as he always does, Alun Lawrence the skipper was lively and these are the guys we need to stand up and drive this.”
Cardiff Blues A kick-off their Celtic Cup campaign with a clash against the Dragons on September 7 (7.15pm) at Rodney Parade.