MUNSTER scrum-half Cathal Sheridan says the experience he gained from playing in the province’s dramatic away Heineken Cup win over Perpignan has provided him with added confidence.
Sheridan has impressed for Munster in recent weeks, with their Irish and Lions scrum-half Conor Murray ruled out of action by injury.
UL-Bohemian clubman Sheridan has flourished in the rarified atmosphere of Munster’s marquee fixtures and is looking forward to the challenge of facing Ulster in the second inter-provincial RaboDirect PRO12 fixture of the Festive period.
Sheridan said: “I think playing in that away Heineken Cup game with Perpignan definitely gives you more confidence.
“You just have that bit of belief in yourself that if you go to a place like Perpignan and deal with what they have to throw at you, there are few other intimidating places.
“But at the same time, you can’t be looking back to last week. You have to thinking that this is a different team, different set-up, different week, so you have to prepare as if you didn’t do anything last week and you are not going to be doing anything next week. You have to be ready for this week coming. I think there are obviously things you always want to improve on. I am learning as I go along. That is the biggest thing.
“When you are in the Academy there comes a point when you think you know it all. Then the second you take the step up to senior level, you realise that you literally learn something new every game.
“I remember being on the bench a few years ago – I think I was still in the Academy – and the nerves and butterflies were going crazy. I was probably lucky they didn’t bring me on!
“I think as you get older, you get a bit more experience and you realise that you are not going out there to look after yourself, especially as a scrum half, because if you go out and try and look after yourself, you are letting the whole team down. If you get a team of lads who will take care of you it will make your life easier as well.”
Sheridan is looking forward to the prospect of pitting his wite against Ulster’s vastly experienced South African scrum-half Ruan Pienaar in Friday night’s RaboDirect PRO12 clash between the Irish provinces at Ravenhill. Twenty-five-year-old Shreidan is set to see more Heineken Cup action in the coming weeks if Conor Murray doesn’t recover from injury in time to feature.
Sheridan said: I definitely would have admired Pienaar as a player. I don’t think you will find any scrum half who will not say that.
“He controls the game very well, does all his basics and everything. But the challenge from my side is to try and make his life as difficult as possible. If each one of our guys outperforms his opposite number, then it makes life a lot easier as a team.
“You can really only focus on this weekend given the fact that it is such a big weekend. It is Ulster at Ravenhill – our first time to play them this season. If you start thinking about two Heineken Cup games on the following two weekends, we are going to fall on our faces up there. We got to just focus on this week, get our preparation right and if we do that it will push us forward going into those two ERC games.