Alex King hailed Saints’ young guns for the way they handled the heat of the Welford Road battle in Saturday’s defeat to Leicester Tigers.
Tigers ran out 17-8 winners in the LV= Cup derby clash, but the away side, packed with home-grown talent, competed well throughout.
Howard Packman’s try 15 minutes from time had even given Saints hope of a win, but Owen Williams’ late penalty deprived them of any reward for their efforts.
Nevertheless, attack coach King was proud of his players for showing steel in a typically hard-fought east midlands battle.
“They stuck at it for the full 80,” King said. “For a lot of the guys it’s the first experience of Welford Road, a 24,000 crowd.
“There are a few things to work on. We’ll learn from it and that’s what these games are all about.
“But I thought the overall spirit and attitude was top class.
“We’re disappointed to lose because you’re in it to win it.
“We were disappointed not to get more points before half-time to validate the work we’d done.
“But the guys will be better for this experience and that’s what the LV= Cup’s for.
“You’re never quite sure who’s available with England, Saxons and Wales squads around, but we’re really happy with the attitude and the effort.
“We need to make sure we learn and take that into the final pool match against Wasps next week.”