Munster and the IRFU have signed wing Keith Earls to a two-year contract extension, keeping him at Thomond Park until the summer of 2021.
A pillar of strength in the Munster backline during his eleven years at the club, the 31-year-old admitted he couldn’t see himself playing rugby anywhere else.
Earls has been as versatile for his country as he has been his club being able to play wing, full-back or at centre, and has scored 28 tries in 70 appearances for Ireland.
On staying in Limerick, Earls commented: “It would be hard to see me playing anywhere else! I’m delighted to have re-signed for a further two years. My family and I are thrilled and I’m looking forward to the future with Munster and Ireland.”
Suffering a severe neck injury three years ago, Earls has fought back into Joe Schmidt’s Ireland plans and his form over the past 18 months saw him earn the Players’ Player of the Year award in May.
David Nucifora, the IRFU’s performance director said: “Keith had a tough run of injuries which ruled him out of the national team successes enjoyed in 2014 and 2015 but he has demonstrated his strength of character and star quality to return and perform at such a consistently high level on the international stage.
“He illustrated his leadership qualities on the summer tour to the US and Japan where he played a key role in the development of a number of younger players.
Earls made his international debut in 2008 against Canada and earned a place in Sir Ian McGeechan’s Lions squad to tour South Africa the following year.
Ahead of next month’s autumn internationals, Earls has been working his way back from a hamstring injury but has been named in Schmidt’s squad.
The back started in all three of Ireland’s Tests against Australia in the summer, winning the series 2-1 over Michael Cheika’s side.
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