Donncha O'Callaghan believes Devin Toner's ability to bounce back from his Rugby World Cup disappointment and forge a return to the Ireland squad for the 2020 Six Nations shows the Leinster player's class.

The lock was left out of Joe Schmidt's squad for Japan 2019. 

But five months on from that setback, Schmidt's successor Andy Farrell has called him up for the Six Nations.

RTÉ 2FM's Game On co-host and ex-Ireland and Munster second-row O'Callaghan had his say on the squad selection and highlighted the significance of Toner's recall.

"The one for me that everyone chatted around Rugby World Cup is Devin Toner back in the squad," he said.

"This for me I think is a massive one because you really earn respect from players if you can take a blow like he had to miss out on the Rugby World Cup and bounce back, that's the mark of class.

"And him being included, I think is a big, big call."

Devin Toner, left, and Donncha O'Callaghan in 2010
Devin Toner, left, and Donncha O'Callaghan in 2010

But on the flipside, O'Callaghan feels some emerging players did not take their opportunity to state their case for inclusion. 

"The door is open but the worry for me is that guys haven't taken the opportunity," he said.

"So when you have someone like Devin Toner on the ropes and you're the player trying to take it off him, you've got to push on and guys missed that opportunity.

"Now he's back in the squad and he could put a run together under a new management."

Toner's veteran Leinster team-mate Rob Kearney has not been included, sparking speculation that his 14-year international career may be over.

"It's very hard to change it but there is hope," O'Callaghan said of Kearney's chances of making a future comeback.

Rob Kearney
Rob Kearney

"Look at Devin Toner. But again, I think it's a bit like Rhys Ruddock trying to get into the team in Leinster and that's a brilliant thing Leinster have.

"They've competition for places. So if you're deemed good enough now to tog out with Leinster, you get rewarded by even playing for Ireland.

"So he's got to go back there but what will happen which is quite important and it's the likes of Rhys Ruddock and Rob Kearney, can they drive the standards while everyone else is away? 

"We've heard Andy Farrell say that he'll be keeping an eye on the Pro14. I always find that a bit harsh because you're not comparing apples with apples.

"It's different intensity. But [Kearney] needs a run of form and he needs to do what Devin's does."