Earls set for another chapter in his sporting story

Keith Earls is looking to make his 202nd appearance for Munster in the URC final.

SUGGESTIONS that the end game had been played in the marvellous rugby career of Keith Earls have proven unfounded.

Earlier this month, the thinking was that Earls – one of a select bunch that have lined out on over 200 occasions for the province – was in injury trouble after sustaining a grade three groin injury ahead of the quarter-final defeat of Glasgow Warriors, and that his continued participation with both province and country was in jeopardy. 

However, the 35-year-old veteran contributed wholeheartedly in the recent semi-final defeat of Leinster at the Aviva Stadium.

Later that evening, the winger admitted: “I felt it was genuinely over, but after a couple of days I started feeling a lot better. Good physios, good doctors, good treatment, Graham (Rowntree) and the lads looking after me in training and giving me every chance. I was delighted. It was risky, but well worth the risk.”

He added: “I haven’t won a trophy in 12 years with Munster, and that’s something I want to do because there’s only, I don’t know how long left.”

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Earls made his Munster debut against Ospreys in Spring 2007 (only shortly after helping St Munchin’s College land the Munster Senior Cup) and was marked-out back then as a player of promise, named Academy Player of the Year in 2007 and Young Player of the Year in 2009, and then in 2018 Senior Player of the Year. 

He will line-out with Munster for an astonishing 202nd occasion on Saturday, and would dearly relish collecting a third league medal for his beloved province. 

‘Fight or Flight: My Life, My Choices,’ Earls autobiography, was voted Sports Book of the Year in late 2021, and is still a riveting read. 

Perhaps, there will be a need for an updated version available as a Christmas 2023 stocking filler.