Ronan O'Gara may no longer be first choice fly-half but he insists his expertise was needed to guide Ireland when RBS 6 Nations disaster beckoned.
The Irish scraped home 13-11 at the Stadio Flaminio on Saturday with O'Gara landing the winning drop goal two minutes from time, denying Italy a first tournament victory in the fixture.
"At that stage in the game you go at it and don't think too much, you just do your job," said the Munster half-back. "The ability to do that comes with experience. As a youngster you don't understand that."
It is the type of cameo from the bench O'Gara is making his speciality since seeing rival Jonathan Sexton claim the number 10 jersey for himself.
While acknowledging Sexton enjoyed an accomplished afternoon, O'Gara believes his own nous was key in preventing the Six Nations' greatest upset since Italy joined the championship in 2000.
He added: "When you get in my position - and I've been lucky to steer the Ireland and Munster ship for 10 years - that you understand it.
"Then someone like Jonny comes in and he's really good but to continue the analogy, when the ship hits choppy waters you bring someone in.
"Jonny played well, but I got backed to come on and try to win the game.
"It's important to have two fellas fighting it out because we can offer a lot going forward."