Melbourne Rebels coach Tony McGahan rued his side's slow start in Saturday's 18-16 loss to the Waratahs in Sydney.
McGahan highlighted that as the decisive factor in a game which the defending champions outscored the visitors by three tries to one.
“We were very disappointed that we gave them so many opportunities in the opening half,” McGahan told the Rebels' official website.
“That is uncharacteristic of how we play, and what we are capable of, and a good opposition will always take advantage if your defending isn’t good enough.
“I thought that to the boys’ credit, they turned up in the second half determined to make amends for that, after we were fortunate to be only ten points down at the break.
“We are disappointed, as we came here to get the result, but we will take confidence from the way in which we responded to a poor beginning against last season’s champion side on their home turf.”
McGahan also praised his young halfback combination of Nic Stirzaker and Debreczeni, who performed strongly against Wallaby incumbents Nick Phipps and Bernard Foley.
“As a club, we have backed Nic and Jack since right back at the beginning of pre-season, and we believe in their ability and their potential to grow,” he added.
“I thought that both of them again stood up and did well tonight, and it is pleasing to see them continuing to get better as we know just how hard they are working to improve.”