Moynalvey man and Irish rugby’s gentle giant, Devin Toner has admitted that his shift at the stove on last Tuesday’s hit RTE show, The Restaurant, has altered his thinking about those who cook for a living.

He revealed, “You are on your feet from nine o’clock in the morning until 10 o’clock at night, like literally on your feet the whole time, so I have a newfound respect for chefs, absolutely. It was very tough, like.”

Asked how the long day cooking up a storm compared to some of his bigger outings on the field, the 36-year-old added: “It’s just completely different, you know.

“Just even standing for that long. And obviously a match is completely different, so the kitchen is just tougher like.”

The 6ft 11in sports star made his Leinster debut in 2006 and won 70 Ireland caps, including being part of three Six Nations title-winning teams, highlighted by a Grand Slam four years ago.

Devin declared he has a passion for cooking and decided the opportunity to show off his culinary talents was one he couldn’t turn down

“I’m hugely competitive, absolutely, so anything that comes up I need to do well in it.

“I love cooking, I’ve always sort of been into it, so when the opportunity came up I jumped at it because I wanted to test myself and see how I would get on.

“It was something that I’ve never done before and I’ve obviously just retired so I thought it would be an exciting and enjoyable thing to do, so I jumped at it.”

And his effort were appreciated with judge Rachel Allen saying about the meal, ‘It was really really good I loved it’ while a second judge, top chef Marco Pierre White said, ‘It was the best meal I have ever had on this show.’