Cardiff Blues director of rugby Dai Young hailed the effort of his inexperienced side after they rallied from 23-12 down to earn a 23-all draw with Exeter in the LV=Cup at Cardiff City Stadium.
The hosts had appeared to be on their way to defeat when tries from hooker Simon Alcott and wing Nic Sestaret, plus 13 points from the boot of fly-half Ryan Davis, put Exeter in control. But Blues full-back Dan Fish scored a try and Gareth Davies kicked his fifth three-pointer, before 18-year-old replacement Joseph Griffin slotted a testing penalty with the last kick of the game to tie the scores.
Young said: "We played against a strong side who are doing well in the Premiership. I have watched some of their games and they were only two or three players shy of their best side."
He added: "In the first half our kicking put us under pressure, our chase as not good enough and allowed them opportunities.
"In the second half we carried a bit more and we thought we could get on the outside of them if kept our depth and it was all us in that second half. I am really pleased when you look at the personnel we had out.
"We had 23 players we did not consider or could not consider for this game and I am really proud of the boys."