But a last kick of the game from Conrad Barnard levelled the scores.
Ryan said: "It was always going to be a battle coming here. Oyonnax have a proud home record and they've been desperate for a European fixture and everyone in the town knew about this match.
"We just went out and did what we had to do. For the first 20 minutes of both halves we had to front physicality that was coming our way and sit it out, and we got so close to coming away with a really difficult French win.
"This side has only lost once here this season and for us to be coming here not in the best of form and trying to find ourselves as a new side - we showed a huge amount of character."
Youngsters Ben Howard and Dean Hammond were given starting spots and impressed the Director of Rugby.
And Ryan believes that going to tough places like France is the perfect experience to stand the young talents in good stead for the future.
He added: "I'm really pleased that we can make these changes and see a positive influence from the youngsters in this competition.
"It took me a long time in my playing career to come to these kinds of places and be able to front the crowd and things that come with it, but these guys being exposed to it at such an early point in their career, is going to be hugely beneficial to all of us.
"Gaining experience in these unique environments are a vital part of growing up."
Seven players made their first starts of the season in the draw which was played out in treacherous conditions.
And despite the cold, wet and wind, Ryan was pleased with how his team conducted themselves in the testing battle.
"They were horrific conditions and with the crowd jumping up and down, it doesn't get any more difficult really.
"Cam Goodhue and Richard de Carpentier were tremendous. John Andress and George Porter in the scrum played a full 80 minutes and did so well when Oyonnax threw everything at us."
Warriors did have an opportunity late in the game to extend a 9-6 lead after opting to kick for touch instead of goal, and the Director of Rugby explained the decision made by the players in the heat of battle.
He concluded: "I think the guys felt that if the opposition kicked back into our half, we may have been vulnerable to their drive which was growing momentum and they wanted to control the game.
"In hindsight we would have kicked at goal but that's in hindsight. It's a positive start in a tournament we are trying to find our wings in and it was going to be a character test but we showed a lot of courage."