Finding out Paulie gets nervous helped calm me - Foley
After making his first Heineken Cup start away to Gloucester last week, Munster lock Dave Foley says he coped with his nerves by seeing veteran Paul O'Connell manage the same affliction.
Foley (25) was spared a week of anxiety as he was not informed that he was starting until two days before the game, but his second-row partner settled him down in the hours before kick-off.
"I didn't find out properly that I was starting until Thursday. I was relaxed enough on Saturday, but it was at the hotel when I started to get a bit nervous," said Foley, who has made 25 senior appearances for the Reds.
"I asked Paulie if he ever gets nervous before a game and strangely enough he said he had. If he was a bit nervous, it was fine for me to be nervous on my first start.
"Then when we got to the ground, I saw the huge support that was there and it put my mind at ease."
And while he admits the step up from the Pro12 was larger than expected, he still felt at home in the Heineken Cup surroundings.
"It was very different, crazy physicality. It was just a step up in pace. But I really enjoyed it. I felt good on Saturday," Foley said.
"I've been around Munster now for six or seven years, and himself and the two Donnchas and Micko before them were great. They are great to sound things off. I'm learning from the best.
"Paulie is one of the older guys, there is not many of them left. But it is important to have them there, they bring huge leadership and bring that winning mentality."