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."
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Wales Head Coach Warren Gatland discusses his team selection for the opening round of the RBS 6 Nations where he leads his side against Ireland, on Sunday. As WRU TV's Luke Brodley discovers, Gatland is fully aware of the challenges the defending champions pose
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