Munster head coach Rob Penney believes his young side will be all the stronger for their narrow one-point defeat to Ulster in the RaboDirect PRO12 last time out, admitting it’s another lesson learned.
Dave O’Callaghan, Sean Dougall, Dave Kilcoyne and Luke O’Dea lined up against more senior players Doug Howlett, BJ Botha and Donncha O’Callaghan but the 2008 champions slipped to their first defeat of the season.
But Penney does not believe there is any reason to panic at Thomond Park, choosing instead to praise the commitment and effort shown by his players.
“I was proud of the boys. They worked their hearts out. We didn't play perfect rugby by any means, but I can't fault their endeavour,” said Penney.
“Every opportunity and every experience is unique in its own way and there are things that you can only learn on the footy track. We've got some young men here and they're learning rapidly.
“I think there are things you can't coach and that was evident. About how hard they're prepared to work for each other which is something we're seeing in this group often.
“We've just got to build on our rugby knowledge, our rugby experience. The experience against Ulster is just going to add another layer to their knowledge and depth going forward.”
And Penney was also buoyed by the performance of his side when they were reduced to 14 men, after Dougall was sent to the sin bin halfway through the second half.
"When we were down to 14 men I thought our commitment to defence was terrific,” he added.
“Those sort of things – when you're down to 14 and you're working hard – can just take the edge off you and take the edge off your attack later on and we just ran out of fuel I think a little bit.”