Northampton Saints centre George Pisi says the Premiership club's youngsters deserve praise for their development this season.
The Samoan international was the elder statesman of the midfield in last Friday’s Premiership win over Exeter, playing outside league debutant Rory Hutchinson and Harry Mallinder, who was making just his second start at fly-half.
But Pisi says that he wasn’t worrying about any age differential, just concentrating on the game in front of him.
"Age isn’t really an issue once you get in the team, as we’re all playing and training each day together," he told Northampton Saints' official website.
"It’s about keeping them calm, not getting them too nervous in terms of playing their game – they’re there for a reason – and encouraging them, knowing that they’ve earned their place and are good enough to play.
"I was impressed by Rory. He’s a young kid that’s come through – you want to see that in players – and he’s taken what we’ve done in training into the game. You can’t ask for more than that from your 12 to step in and make a difference."
Pisi had been substituted by the time Mallinder’s match winning penalty had gone over and Louis Picamoles had booted the ball into touch to bring the final whistle. Nevertheless he remembers the feeling all too well.
"Relief! The past few weeks we’ve been playing well but not finishing it off, and getting that win is good in terms of building for the next few weeks," he added.
"There was a lot of pressure, but the positive thing that we could take out of those games was that we were playing well, getting a lot of chances but just not finishing them off. It’s worse if you’re losing and not creating chances, so we were taking positives and just trying to get it to click.
"If we can get on the right page and everyone’s doing the right things then we’ll score those tries."