Six Nations 2013: O’Callaghan’s Ireand career not over – Kidney

Six Nations 2013: Ireland's Declan Kidney insists Donncha O'Callaghan's international future is not over despite his omission

Declan Kidney insists veteran lock Donncha O’Callaghan’s international future is far from over – despite omitting the 33-year-old from his matchday squad to face Italy this weekend.

O’Callaghan has featured in all four of Ireland’s Six Nations fixtures this season, but will play no part in Rome with Connacht’s Mike McCarthy starting against the Italians and the largely-untested Leinster forward Devin Toner among the replacements.

The omission of O’Callaghan could be viewed in two ways with Kidney continuing to reshape a team that has relied on the likes of Brian O’Driscoll, Ronan O’Gara and O’Callaghan, who has 94 caps to his name, for over a decade or simply adjusting things tactically to face the Italians.

But whatever the view of the public, Kidney is adamant O’Callaghan will don the Irish green again.

“Devin Toner is a purely selection issue. The Italian lineout is very strong so it’s just prudent to have a balance on that side of things this time. He has been going well for us in training so it’s a recognition of both,” said Kidney.

“It’s tough on Donncha. It’s always tough on anyone, whether it’s their first cap or a 100th. I would say Donncha is a long way from his first cap. That’s just the selection for this match.

“There’s many more to come. He’ll be playing away next year as well and there’s nothing to say he won’t be in for the next match.”

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