Taking on one of the best lock forwards in the world in his first game for Scotland made the pain of Saturday's 41-5 defeat to Queensland worthwhile for Craig Hamilton.
Up against Australia international Nathan Sharpe, Hamilton acquitted himself admirably and was singled out for praise both by Scotland coach Matt Williams and Test lock Stuart Grimes, his second-row partner at Newcastle.
Williams has spoken repeatedly of the urgent need to speed up the development of those on the fringes of the Scotland team by exposing them to a higher pace and intensity of rugby.
And that is just what Hamilton found at Ballymore where the Reds ripped the Scottish defence apart to lead 29-0 at half-time.
Even for a player with English Premiership and Scotland Under-21 experience it was a bigger step than even he could have envisaged.
"It was a very tough game. It is a learning experience for me. It shows how big a step up it is," said Hamilton.
"You don't realise how big a step it is until you go out there and play. There are some great players out there.
"You have got to put yourself against the best if you want to improve. There is no good playing a club side and you thrash them, you are not really going to learn anything or improve your own game."
Williams was critical of Scotland's tackling techniques after the match and Hamilton conceded the defensive structure needed work, but he is confident it will come with time.
"It is quite hard on the confidence, especially when the boys gave it their all, to come off and see the scoreboard the way it was," he said.
"I thought we played quite well at times and our guys really stuck at it. Hopefully you will see as the tour goes on it will get better and better.
"You need to work so much harder and push up so much quicker. It is a lot faster here (against Super 12 opposition). The hits are the same but I was struggling at times to keep up to the pace."
Winger Sean Lamont was another to catch the eye as he made a couple of promising breaks before scoring Scotland's only try late in the game.
"It was nice to score on your debut but they are a very strong side," said the 23-year-old Glasgow winger, a former Scotland Sevens international.
"It did help my confidence putting on the jersey for full side. All you can do is take as much from it as you can.
"Every game is a learning step, you have got to learn from errors and defeats. I hope we learn from this one."
With the Test squad on ice until Friday's clash with Samoa, the development side will need to pick themselves up ahead of Wednesday's clash with NSW Country in Wollongong.
Scotland's line-up will be confirmed tomorrow while NSW Country included former Australia winger Scott Staniforth and ACT Brumbies number eight Scott Fava on the bench.
Staniforth is playing out his current NSW Rugby contract before heading to London Irish in the English Premiership.
Fava, a member of the Wallabies squad last year, was unfortunate to miss out on the current party after a storming season as the Brumbies won the Super 12.
The Cockatoos are top of the Australian Rugby Shield table after four straight victories over Adelaide, Darwin, Melbourne and Perth.
Peter Malone has been Nigel Carolan's assistant since 2015
24 March 2017, 11:56am
The IRFU have announced Peter Malone as the Ireland Under-20s interim head coach for the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Georgia this summer after Nigel Carolan announced he would take a position at Guinness PRO12 side Connacht.