Leinster suffered their first defeat in five Magners League games in Cardiff on Saturday and moved down to fourth in the table but head coach Joe Schmidt believes his young side would have took a lot of positives from the game.
Leo Cullen became only the fifth Leinster player to reach 150 appearances in the 11 v 8 defeat against the Blues but the fixture gave Schmidt the opportunity to blood young talent including Eamonn Sheridan who made his first start and Michael Keating who made his debut from the bench for the province.
“It was a huge opportunity for the younger players but it’s also a reality jolt for them. The speed and the physicality of top-level rugby is something that you need to make sure you are primed for,” said Schmidt.
“Ian McKinley on his first game went through a couple of times. The first time he slipped and we didn’t finish the second one. But that is the ruthless reality of top-level rugby. That is something the young players will learn from.
“The young lads kept trying. I was disappointed we weren’t able to match the Cardiff side up front. We weren’t accurate enough at the lineout and rucks.
“Our game management wasn’t great and we were starved of the ball in the first half. We kicked the ball too much. Those players will learn a lot before the next time they play.”