Lessons to be learned from defeat to Tigers
Exeter Chiefs fly-half Gareth Steenson has backed the club's young players to emerge from their weekend Premiership defeat to Leicester Tigers as better players.
Centre Sam Hill and No.8 Dave Ewers were arguably Chiefs' best performers during a 21-9 loss at Sandy Park on Sunday.
Steenson, who scored all of the Devon club's points against the Tigers, believes continued exposure to top-flight rugby will see both players continue to improve rapidly.
He said: "People like Dave and Sam are going to get confident when they get game time.
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"Dave Ewers' carrying ability is fantastic and Sam Hill carries well too and that's why they are in the side. They will only get better with more experience.
"They will be better coming out the other side playing against Leicester and other top sides."
The prolific ten emphasised the Chiefs' need to learn as much from defeats as victories as well as keeping a level-headed perspective on their performances, regardless of the outcome.
He said: "We all have to take big lessons from it. If we take this in the right manner, it will be good for us.
"We talk about getting on a roller-coaster of emotions. You can play well one week and you get a good result – you understand why you got the good result – but if you take a loss, you take it on the chin."
The Chiefs made a lacklustre start against the Tigers, finding themselves 15-0 down by half-time. Then, although they fought back in the second, they failed to turn pressure into tries.
That aspect will need to improve ahead of this weekend's trip to Kingsholm to face Gloucester.
Steenson said: "For us, the disappointing thing is we didn't do everything we talked about doing against Leicester. If you play to the best of your ability, then you can have no gripes with a loss, but against Leicester, we did not perform in the first 40 minutes.
"If you give a side like Leicester 15 points, it makes it difficult.
"We didn't get our game on top of them and it is disappointing it took us 40 minutes to do that.
"I thought what we did at the start of the second half was what we wanted to do right from the start of the game.
"You could see when we started to put pressure on them that we started getting penalties and points on the board – we got ourselves back within seven.
"To get them that close and then let it slip away at the end was disappointing. There were a couple of opportunities we left out on the field and at this level you have to take your scores. We have to just say fair play to Leicester.
"If we aren't clinical in certain aspects of the game, we aren't going to score the tries. We gave ourselves about two or three chances and didn't take them.
"We'll have to look at that but we did show that when we do want to play, we can put points on the board. We will take positives out of the game, but we have to work hard and get ready for next week against Gloucester."