Ireland head coach Declan Kidney was not a happy man after his side's unimpressive 27-10 win over the USA in Santa Clara on Sunday, but he believes that better is to come in the remainder of the term.
But for the poor kicking of American Mike Hercus, Kidney's much changed side could have been embarrassed. As it turned out, tries from Bob Casey, Ian Whitten, Rory Best and a penalty try were enough to give the inexperienced tourists a win.
"It was obviously a very poor game and there were a lot of mistakes in it," insisted Kidney.
"We need to be honest with ourselves about how that went. While they trained well during the week, they have to front up week in-week out for international rugby and, while I'm not saying they didn't do that, we have a lot to learn.
"Having said that, we didn't get too euphoric after the RBS 6 Nations and we're not going to get too despondent now.
"We said we'd do both tours - this and the Churchill Cup - to see what players were coming through. A few of the lads here will stay on, a few lads will go home and the pre-season will be massively important to them.
"For the lads that came out, there's a real chance for them to stake a claim for the senior side for November. For us, it's only half-way through the tour and we'll look forward to the rest of it, and hopefully we'll get better games out of it than we had today.
"The players' pre-season this year, and their pre-season next year, is what's going to have to carry us through to the World Cup. We need to be at our optimum in two and a half years' time and that takes time. It's like the Olympics - people train four years for the Olympics, we have two and a half years to the World Cup."