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Toner set to get physical


Devin Toner. Photo: Sportsfile

Devin Toner. Photo: Sportsfile

Devin Toner. Photo: Sportsfile

When asked about England's improvement in November, Ireland's Devin Toner moved away from the collective to concentrate on individuals.

This could just define the Six Nations opener when the complete team confronts a team of complete individuals.

There were two Englishmen in particular that have received special attention during Ireland's preparation.

Billy Vunipola and Owen Farrell are instrumental to how England play.

"The main thing for them is the firepower they have and the firepower they have coming back," he said.

"Billy coming back will be huge for them, a massive ball-carrier and well able to use his hands as well.

"Then the firepower they have out in the backline, with Owen at 10 pulling the strings, he's a fantastic player," he said.

"I think it's more the individuals we're looking at now at the minute and just trying to negate their impact on the game."

It is not always advisable to be on first name terms with those you have to have a serious disagreement within two days. For Toner, the laid-back lock will find the on-switch between now and then.

The heightened state of aggression is not something that comes as easily to the veteran as it does to others.

Toner wouldn't exactly be the 'Mohammed Ali' of manliness when it comes to talking himself up.

Has he had to be more physical?

"I suppose I didn't really have it in my game," he admitted.

"Obviously, I'm still not as physical as many other players. I try to do as much as I can."