Northampton Saints wing James Ramm believes there were positives in their performance despite losing 46-12 at La Rochelle in the Heineken Champions Cup.
Saints found themselves trailing 46-0 before Ramm and Matt Proctor crossed for consolation tries.
The 24-year-old Australian said facing the defending champions was the biggest match of his career to date.
“We’ll take a lot of learning from this and must turn up next week with more of the full 80 (minute display),” he said.
“In the past couple of weeks we’ve gone the other way – we’ve started really well, had a lull and let the other teams back in, so to take any positive, it’s definitely that (finish to the game).
“When we’re backs against the wall, we’re not going to give up, we’re going to fight. It proves we can stand with these teams, we just need to do it for the full 80,” Ramm told BBC Radio Northampton.
“They were a class team. We knew that coming over. They won the Champions Cup last year and we wanted to test ourselves against the best. To have that opportunity was amazing.
“The stadium atmosphere was definitely something I’d never experienced. All the boys were excited to come over and play in a town like this where rugby is so big. The amount of La Rochelle support here is amazing.”
Another plus for Northampton was the return to action from the bench of England’s Courtney Lawes, who had not played since suffering a head injury in September.
“He’s been training a couple of weeks now and everyone is excited to see him back out there. To play with him is definitely a pleasure. He’s a world-class player,” added Ramm, who joined Saints from New South Wales Waratahs ahead of the season.
Northampton will have home advantage next weekend when they face Irish side Munster, who also lost their opening group game, 18-13 at home to Toulouse.
“They are all big tests – and we want those big tests. We’ll make sure we prep properly to make sure we get stuck into Munster,” director of rugby Phil Dowson told BBC Radio Northampton.
“That’s going to be physical, that’s going to be full-on, that’s the whole point of playing in the Champions Cup.”