Irish rugby stars agree on their most underrated teammate 1 year ago

Irish rugby stars agree on their most underrated teammate

"Come on now. You should’ve had way more caps!"

Can you be underrated and still have 70 Ireland caps, 260+ club appearances, four European Cups and three Six Nations titles to your name?


If your name is Devin Toner, the answer is yes.

The big Leinster lock surpassed Gordon D'Arcy, recently, as his province's most capped player and did so in style. By helping Leinster to the seventh league title in his time at the province, Toner also won his 263rd cap and was shoved forward to lift the Guinness PRO14 title with Scott Fardy and Michael Bent.

For all he has achieved in the game, the Meath native does not get the credit he often should. Chris Henry, Fergus McFadden and Ian Madigan have all played with Toner and spoke about what he brings to Leinster and Ireland.

Also on House of Rugby Ireland [LISTEN from 18:30 below], the three lads discussed three other underrated teammates they played with, and what makes an unheralded guy so cherished within the four walls of the dressing room.


underrated Richardt Strauss, Fergus McFadden, Kevin McLaughlin and Devin Toner line up for Ireland. (Credit: Sportsfile)

"I know he’s 70 caps for Ireland and all these trophies," said McFadded, "but, in ways, you could probably call Dev underrated. Would you agree?"


"Yeah," Madigan replied. "He’s not a player who would grab the headlines or, if he’s not in a team on a given week, you’re not going, ‘Oh we’re in trouble, Dev’s not in’. But we had the joy of playing with him and he was just a joy to play with. He’s just a guy that consistently produced.

"It was always 7s and 8s, every single weekend. If you look through his, the guts of 350 professional games he’s played. How many times has he had a 5? A 4 or a 5. Never. He’s just rock solid."

Henry mentioned his former inter-pro rival, and Ireland teammate, Kevin McLaughlin, who 'at a different time, could have got a lot, lot more Irish caps' than the eight he finished up with.

Henry also listed Rhys Ruddock [27 Ireland caps] and Luke Marshall [11] as two solid pros that may not have got the Test match shine their games deserve.

Eoin Reddan and Ian Madigan pictured together in the 2014 PRO12 Final (Credit: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE)

For Madigan, the underrated teammates you love to line out alongside are the ones that may not get the plaudits on TV, on-air or on social media, but regularly feature in the Monday morning review sessions.

"It's going from ruck to ruck, it’s making a selfless run to run a dummy line, it’s chasing back when someone breaks through," he explained.

"And you only really pick up on these things when you’re doing a full game review with the whole team. And if you see the same guy popping up, over and over, you just develop this unbelievable respect for them.

"Lukey Marshall is definitely one of them. Dev is another one. Rhys. Someone like Eoin Reddan.

"For me coming through, I was really nervous before games and one thing that would have made me feel better was knowing what the guys around me were going to bring. And playing with Redzer, he would have been a guy I’d know was guaranteed to have a 7 or 8, the core parts of his game are going to be on and he’s going to know his detail. And that would have settled me down a lot, and given me confidence in my own game."

From a Connacht and Munster perspective, the names that have been mentioned to us, over the years, when talking about underrated teammates are Billy Holland, John Muldoon, Rory Scannell, Mick O'Driscoll, Jarrad Butler, Niall Ronan and Stephen Archer.