Leeds Rhinos boss Rohan Smith said he was ‘proud’ of his side despite their 20-6 defeat to Toulouse in Super League.
Smith could only name a 20-man squad ahead of the fixture due to injuries and suspensions.
Captain Kruise Leeming and half-backs Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer all missed out through injuries. Zane Tetevano, Tom Holroyd, Muizz Mustapha, Harry Newman and Matt Prior missed the clash through suspensions.
The Rhinos then had to make a late change just before kick-off. Liam Sutcliffe was ruled out through illness and was replaced by 17-year-old Jack Sinfield in the starting line-up.
It meant the side’s average age was just 24 and included three teenagers.
Brad Dwyer scored the side’s only try, conceding three tries themselves. Chris Hankinson kicked four from the boot to claim Toulouse’s third straight victory.
Rohan Smith: ‘I couldn’t be prouder of the effort of our players’
“I thought it was a really tough game in taxing conditions for both teams,” said Smith.
“We were full of running at the end of the game, which is testament to our performance staff and the players buying into what we are trying to do to prepare for tough conditions.
“They scored a couple of tries on the edges and that can happen, but we defended bravely and we had experienced players who pulled out earlier in the week and we lost another one just before kick-off.
“The young players in there are brave young kids, they are tough and I’m nothing but proud of that group in there.
“I need to do a better job to get our team to flow when we don’t have experienced halves available.
“But I couldn’t be prouder of the effort of our players.”