Dragons head coach Paul Turner believes his side can take plenty of pluses into the remainder of their Magners League campaign following their European trip to Toulouse.
Turner’s men were beaten 17-3 in the south of France but plenty of critics had suggested far worse was on the cards at the Stade Ernest Wallon.
A demoralising heavy defeat never looked like materialising, however, as the Dragons produced a determined defensive display against the five-times continental kings.
And while Turner admitted he is never happy to lose, he was delighted with his team’s efforts against the big boys of European rugby.
"We spoke before the game about the fear factor in rugby when you come to places like Toulouse. If you're unlucky you can be on the wrong end of something bad so I'm really proud of the players' effort," said Turner.
"We gave them a good run for their money and made them panic at times. We made them look ordinary at times but they have the strength to bring the likes of Florian Fritz and Frederic Michalak off the bench.
"We produced a really dogged performance. We can take a lot of pride from what we're trying to achieve, albeit in defeat.
"We were disappointed not to show more in attack but, in places like this, against one of the best teams in Europe, you have to defend well.
"But we also needed to show more composure with the ball after working so hard to get our hands on it. You have to make the most of any chances that come your way and we bombed a couple of opportunities so we're disappointed not to get something out of the game.
"We probably deserved more than we got for that performance but we have taken a major step forward."
Turner will be hopeful that Saturday’s spirited showing will boost confidence ahead of next weekend’s Heineken Cup battle and the final 10 regular season Magners League games.
The Dragons are yet to win in European competition this season but they will hope to rectify that when they welcome Glasgow Warriors to Rodney Parade next weekend.
And perhaps more importantly, Turner would love their French adventure to provide a spark to carry into the clashes with Edinburgh, Aironi and again with Glasgow on February 12, 20 and 25 respectively.