Phil Davies has hailed the performance of Rhys Patchell
Phil Davies hailed Rhys Patchell after fourteen man Cardiff Blues went down fighting against Montpellier.
The rookie fly-half kept the Blues in touch with the French club after Lloyd Williams sent off for a 'tip-tackle' after 25 minutes.
Patchell, who has starred for Wales Sevens, coolly slotted 24-points in a mature performance, which was almost enough to snatch a win against the odds.
The brave Blues were eventually consigned to a 35-24 defeat at the Arms Park but Davies was pleased with the 19-year-old's performance.
"Overall for a guy who is 19 he was outstanding," said Davies.
"Rhys stood out because of his maturity, his goal-kicking is excellent and his kicking out of hand is pretty good too. He is one for the future but we have to look after him.
"We just have to nurture and look after him a bit, this was his first Heineken Cup start.
"He has a great temperament, a great skill set and a fantastic work ethic so he has all the ingredients to be a top player, and fortunately we have got him for a number of years."
Patchell was one of six players in an inexperienced Cardiff Blues squad making their first Heineken Cup start.
The capital city outfit were deprived of 11 players, including Wales quartet Bradley Davies, Jamie Roberts, Leigh Halfpenny and Sam Warburton, due to injuries and illness.
But Davies was delighted with his side's fighting spirit.
"I thought the way we adjusted and played after the red card, considering the age of some of the players out there, and the way we played to come back into the game was really pleasing," added the former Scarlets head coach.
"We had four players today who made their Heineken debuts. Gavin Evans was our oldest player on the field at 27.
"It is a tough experience for them all, but you can't fault the effort they are putting in. Just a bit more smartness and maturity will help us nail the key moments.
"But overall the effort and determination was fantastic. It doesn't get any better than that."
Wales and Ospreys back row James King, who came through the North Wales age grade system, nominated North Wales Regional Community Rugby Manager Marc Roberts, in the WRU's 'Diolch' initiative where squad players thanked those who played a part in their rise to the top.
Beating Merthyr has boosted Carmarthen Quins hopes of reaching a top eight spot in the Principality Premiership. Quins captain Haydn Pugh is delighted with his team's progress and is determined that everyone from the Under 6s through to the senior team, enjoys the ride.
When the Wales squad were asked to nominate individuals who played a big part in their early playing days, Wales and Dragons full back and wing Hallam Amos thought of his former Monmouth School rugby coach John Bevan.
Sam Cross and Luke Treharne have been named as co-captains of the Wales Sevens side as head coach Gareth Williams names his 12-man squad to play in the first leg of the HSBC World Series in Dubai next weekend.
Bedwas head coach Steve Law and players Nicky Griffiths and Alun Rees extol the virtues of the close knit club as they prepare to host third place RGC 1404 - who are one place head of them on the Principality Premiership points table - on Saturday.
Many of the Wales squad have said Diolch (thank you) to someone who played an important part in their early playing days by nominating them to be invited to the Wales v South Africa match. One person, Gowerton Comprehensive geography teacher Mr Dean Mason was nominated by two of his former pupils, Dan Biggar and Sam Davies.
The second WRU disability rugby pilot has been delivered, this time in Caerphilly schools, culminating in a festival at the Caerphilly Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach tomorrow. Plans are in place to set up a Disability Rugby Club in Newbridge to provide long-term playing opportunities.
WRU TV: Hear from inside the Wales camp as Neil Jenkins discusses this weekend's clash with South Africa and how the squad are looking to put in a strong performance to round of the 2016 Under Armour Series