Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Toner aims to hit right note

Devin Toner is planning to mark his Test debut by fixing Ireland's malfunctioning line-out.

The Irish head into Saturday's international against Samoa at Aviva Stadium in desperate need of ending their six-match losing streak. South Africa survived a late fightback to secure a 23-21 victory in Dublin last weekend, with the home side's misfiring line-out a key factor in their downfall.

Toner, 24, will be giving the calls against Samoa and hopes his 6ft 10in frame will have an impact. "I'm delighted to be selected, over the moon," he said. "I can't wait for the game. Kick-off can't come quick enough."

He added: "I've been involved in the squad before and you're always hoping to be involved in the team. The challenge is to get the line-out right. I like to see myself as bit of a line-out man.

"I'll do my best and will be leaving no stone unturned in training this week.

"Donncha O'Callaghan will be playing beside me and he has a wealth of experience."

Toner feels he has benefited from playing alongside Malcolm O'Kelly and Leo Cullen at Leinster, but admits his height causes problems in certain areas of the game.

"Mal and Leo have both had a great influence over me. I've learnt as much as I can from both of them," he said.

"My height has presented a few challenges, like when trying to get down low into rucks. I'm always working on scrummaging. Getting down low is the biggest challenge."

Toner is included in the starting line-up alongside Leinster colleague Sean O'Brien, who has replaced David Wallace at openside as one of 10 changes in personnel to the side beaten by South Africa.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph