Ulster might have seen their 100 per cent record fall at the hands of Ospreys, but coach Brian McLaughlin believes his side could be better for the setback in the long run.
The Ulstermen and Ospreys clashed on Sunday both defending perfect records in this season’s RaboDirect Pro12, but it was Dan Biggar who put the boot into McLaughlin’s charges, helping himself to 20 points in a Welsh victory.
But it wasn’t all doom and gloom with 19-year-old Paddy Jackson proving himself a reliable stand-in for Ian Humphreys, the out-half grabbing a well-taken try in the defeat.
And it is this experience his young players are now getting a taste of that gives McLaughlin hope that they can take one step back but two forward in the coming weeks.
“There were a lot of young guys out there and that will have been an experience for them,” he said.
“There are good days and bad days when you play and for most of them so far there have been a lot more good days than bad.
“This will have been a very steep learning experience. When you come to a place like Ospreys, you've got to be squeaky clean with your discipline, organised with the ball, put it in the right areas of the pitch and make sure you put a team like Ospreys under pressure.
“You can't allow yourself to get blown away in and around the contact areas. Those were the areas where we were guilty of under-achieving.”