George Earle insists Cardiff Blues' crop of young players can learn a lot from the harsh realities of Saturday's heavy defeat to Newcastle Falcons in the Anglo Welsh Cup.
As one of the squad’s more experienced players, Earle captained the young Blues for the first time on Saturday.
The lock believes that facing experienced internationals such as Josh Matavesi and Maxime Mermoz will be beneficial to the region’s players in the long run.
“I think the boys were surprised with the way we started the game. It was really encouraging to play like we did in the first twenty, but unfortunately their experience got the better of us,” said Earle.
“It’s a learning curve for a lot of the younger guys. If you’re 19 or 20, you always learn from these harsh lessons and they will be better off next time.
“It’s a collective effort in rugby, so they’ve all learnt that lesson and exceptional talent coming through will learn from harsh lessons and only get better as players.
“It’s best for the young guys to play against top quality players, and Newcastle are a great team.
“They can realise that these players are just players like we are and focus on what we do and do the best of your ability.”
Anglo Welsh Cup action continues this week as Cardiff Blues welcome rivals, Ospreys, to Cardiff Arms Park on Friday.
Earle was privileged to captain the side at Kingston Park, but insists they must move on as a collective squad and concentrate on Friday’s derby clash.
Earle said: “It’s a privilege to captain the team. It’s a great club and only great players have captained this team.
“It was an exceptional experience and it’s always rewarding to see young players play, come through the system and ask for your advice.
“It’s rewarding to you as a rugby player to be able to give back to young guys and I think the future is bright here and we need to keep believing, get the right people involved and keep pushing forward.
“You can’t ask for a better game to bounce back. They’re a quality team and a proud club, and a Welsh rivalry.
“I think the boys will be bouncing for Friday. It’s a long journey home which gives us all a chance to reflect on it, forget about it move on.
“The great thing about rugby is that it can all change the next day. “