Llanelli's Head of Rugby Anthony Buchanan was proud with his sides performance in defeat to Neath in Saturday's SWALEC Cup Final.<b>
The Parc y Scarlets club fell to a 27-21 defeat at the Millennium Stadium, ending the season as both losing cup finalists and league nearly men, finishing fourth in the table after topping the table at one point.
But Buchanan refuses to accept talk of it being a disappointing season, instead insisting that things can only get better for his young charges. He said: "I wouldn't say it's been a season of near misses, rather one showing us all the start of things to come.
"I wanted to challenge at the top end of Welsh rugby this year, and I feel we are getting pretty close to doing that."
The Llanelli boss conceded errors made by his side ultimately cost them the match.
"We played a huge amount of attacking rugby early on and didn't take advantage of what we created," said Buchanan. "But that is cup rugby, we have to learn from our mistakes but to be fair we are a pretty honest side and being so young we are bound to make mistakes from time to time.
"Neath are a good side and should be congratulated on their win, but we contributed a large amount to what was a very exciting game.
"I feel we can hold our heads high and say we contributed to a cracking game of rugby."
Now, all eyes are on whether Buchanan's youngsters can grow up into a trophy winning side next year. "It would have been nice to win the Swalec Cup today, but it wasn't to be and now next season cannot come quick enough," he added.
"We want to be competitive next year, and although we must not get ahead of ourselves I want us to be up there with the best of them.
"It is all about taking things forward and channelling ourselves. We have a group of younger players who I know will be coming on even stronger next season."
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.