The likes of Michael Doughty, Max Ehmer and Michael Harriman have been training with the senior players all summer and were included on the recent trips to Asia and Germany.
Hughes said: “They’ve done really well – that’s been another bonus.
“We took them, in fairness, just to expose them to the senior group and see how they dealt with it.
“They’ve probably played a lot better than I expected, which is a good sign because it shows that they can step up. When they’ve got good players around them they look good players themselves.
“We want to see young players coming through the ranks because then our fans will have a special affinity to those.
“I’d like to think we can see more of them throughout the season. They’re young lads and can supplement the 25, so they’re certainly there or thereabouts.”