Andy Farrell’s postgame comments after Ireland’s exit last weekend to New Zealand was the prelude to the the official announcement from Keith Earls on his retirement from professional rugby with immediate effect. A press release that was carefully put together and really captured the essence of Keith Earls.
Keith Earls is the last link from that stand out 2008 Munster Rugby squad who captured the Heineken Cup against Toulouse. Keith Earls like his Dad (Ger) was a superb player with versatility aplenty. His ability to traverse across the back line seen to full effect during his career. He played the back three and three quarters with astute game reading, terrific pace and try scoring opportunism.
An outstanding talent with massive versatility playing anywhere in the back line whether it was Thomond, Garryowen, Young Munster, Ireland, British and Irish Lions. You only have to hear the glowing tributes from key players in the game within Ireland and further afield on their respect and admiration for the Limerick native.
My sincere hope is that Keith Earls keeps involved in the game and integrates into Munster Rugby setup to help nurture the next generation of back line players for province and country. Best wishes Keith on your playing career and future plans. An outstanding player, Limerick ambassador and person!
I have so many fond memories of Keith Earls in a Munster Rugby jersey personally. That performance against the Ospreys which secured his squad berth with the British & Irish Lions, his debut try for Ireland against Canada in Thomond Park. His try against England in the final warm-up game at the Aviva before this World Cup tournament was a poignant farewell to the Ireland supporters.
It was sad to hear the retirement announcement today but Keith Earls was able to call time on his own terms and not many professional sportspeople can say that. A Munster Rugby icon and a player whose name will be associated with excellence in rugby union. His playing legacy secured!