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Keith Gerard Earls (born 2 October 1987) is an Irish rugby union player for Munster in the Pro14 and European Rugby Champions Cup. Internationally, Earls plays for Ireland and represented the British and Irish Lions on their 2009 tour to South Africa. Earls began his career as a centre, but now plays primarily on the wing and has occasionally provided cover at fullback.

Keith Earls
Keith Earls 2015 RWC.jpg
Earls warming up for Ireland during the 2015 Rugby World Cup
Birth nameKeith Gerard Earls
Date of birth (1987-10-02) 2 October 1987 (age 32)
Place of birthMoyross, Limerick, Ireland
Height1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Weight87 kg (13.7 st; 192 lb)
SchoolSt. Munchin's College
SpouseEdel McGee
Children3 daughters
Rugby union career
Position(s) Centre, Fullback, Wing
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
20??–??
20??–??
20??–??
Thomond
Garryowen
Young Munster
()
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2007–present Munster 165 (275)
Correct as of 16 November 2019
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2007
2007–2015
2008–present
2009
Ireland U20
Ireland Wolfhounds
Ireland
British and Irish Lions
5
8
82
0
(5)
(25)
(150)
(0)
Correct as of 19 October 2019
Earls playing for Munster

Early lifeEdit

Earls was born in Moyross, a council estate in Limerick, to Ger and Sandra Earls. He has one younger sister. Ger was well-known in Limerick for his playing exploits with Thomond and Young Munster, winning the 1992–93 All-Ireland League with the latter, and for being part of the Munster team that beat then-defending World Champions Australia in 1992.

Earls first began playing underage rugby for Thomond, as an openside flanker, and started secondary school at St Munchin's College, before moving to St Nessan's Community College, which was closer to home. However, a move into midfield led to Earls being convinced to return to St Munchin's, and he won the Munster Schools Rugby Senior Cup with the college in 2006, alongside current Munster and Ireland teammate Conor Murray and at the expense of the current Munster captain and Ireland teammate Peter O'Mahony.[1]

He went on to play for Ireland Schools and then joined the Munster Academy, during which time he played for Ireland Under-19s, Ireland Under-20s, with whom he won a Grand Slam during the 2007 Six Nations Under 20s Championship, Ireland 7s and Munster A, before earning a professional contract with Munster and moving to Garryowen. Like his father before him, Earls now plays for Young Munster.[2]

MunsterEdit

2006–2012Edit

Earls made his Munster debut against Ospreys in April 2007.[3] During the 2007–08 season, Earls was part of the Munster squad that beat Toulouse in the 2008 Heineken Cup Final.[4][5] In the 2008–09 season, Earls really made his mark in the Munster first team, scoring 10 tries, including a hat-trick in the Celtic League against Dragons in September 2008[6] and a brace in the Heineken Cup quarter-final against Ospreys in May 2009[7]

Earls started against Northampton Saints in Munster's 31–27 Round 1 2009–10 Heineken Cup defeat on 10 October 2009.[8] Earls also started the 41–10 Round 2 win against Benetton on 17 October 2009.[9] He then started the 24–23 Round 3 win against Perpignan on 11 December 2009.[10] He also started the reverse Round 4 fixture on 20 December 2009, which Munster won 37–14.[11] Earls scored two tries in the Round 5 44–7 win against Benetton on 16 January 2010.[12] Earls also started the 12–9 Round 6 victory against Northampton Saints on 22 January 2010.[13] Earls then started the 33–19 quarter-final victory, also against Northampton, on 10 April 2010.[14] Earls scored a try in Munster's 18–7 semi-final defeat at the hands on Biarritz on 2 May 2010.[15]

He played for Munster during their historic 15–6 win over Australia on 16 November 2010.[16] Earls was also part of the Munster team that beat Leinster to win the 2011 Magners League Grand Final.[17] He injured his knee in the first minute of Munster's Pro12 match against Leinster on 4 November 2011,[18] and was ruled out for 4–6 weeks.[19] He made his return against Scarlets in Munster's 2011–12 Heineken Cup Round 4 fixture on 18 December 2011.[20]

Earls also started against Castres on 14 January 2012.[21] He also started in Munster's 51–26 win against Northampton Saints on 21 January 2012.[22] Earls started in Munster's 2011–12 Heineken Cup quarter-final loss to Ulster on 8 April 2012.[23] He also started for Munster in their 45–10 defeat against Ospreys in the semi-final of the 2011–12 Pro12.[24] Earls started against Saracens on 8 December 2012.[25]

2013–2019Edit

He started against Edinburgh on 13 January 2013.[26] Earls started against Racing 92 on 20 January 2013.[27] Earls started Munster's 16–10 2012–13 Heineken Cup semi-final defeat against Clermont Auvergne on 27 April 2013.[28]

Earls scored a try in Munster's 19–15 victory against Leinster on 5 October 2013.[29] He started in the 29–23 loss to Edinburgh in Round 1 of the 2013–14 Heineken Cup on 12 October 2013.[30] He also started the 26–10 win against Gloucester in Round 2 on 19 October 2013.[31] He won the Man-of-the-Match award in Munster's Round 3 36–8 win against Perpignan on 8 December 2013.[32] Earls also started the reverse fixture away to Perpignan on 14 December 2013.[33] He started the 20–7 away win against Gloucester on 11 January 2013, scoring a try in a win that secured quarter-final qualification.[34] Earls started against Edinburgh in the Round 6 fixture on 19 January 2014, but went off injured in the first-half.[35] It was announced on 21 January 2014 that Earls had signed a new two-year contract.[36] After having a scan on the injury he suffered in the Edinburgh game, Earls was ruled out for 6–8 weeks.[37] Earls started in Munster's Heineken Cup quarter-final against Toulouse on 5 April 2014, scoring a try in the 47-23 win.[38] He started in Munster's 24–16 semi-final defeat to Toulon on 27 April 2014.[39]

Earls was ruled out for four months in September 2014 with a knee injury which required surgery.[40] He returned from the injury against Zebre on 10 January 2015.[41] Earls came off the bench against Saracens in Round 5 of the 2014–15 European Rugby Champions Cup on 17 January 2015, winning his 100th cap for Munster.[42][43] He started against Sale Sharks on 25 January 2015, scoring a try in the 65–10 win.[44] Earls scored a try and won the Man-of-the-Match award in Munster's 22–10 win against Glasgow Warriors on 28 February 2015.[45] He scored a try in Munster's 42–20 win against Connacht on 28 March 2015.[46] Earls scored a try in the 34–3 away win against Edinburgh on 11 April 2015.[47]

Earls started the opening pool game of the 2015–16 European Rugby Champions Cup against Benetton on 14 November 2015.[48] He started against Leicester Tigers in the Champions Cup on 12 December 2015.[49] In January 2016, Earls signed a new three-year contract with Munster and the IRFU.[50] On 22 October 2016, Earls was sent-off in Munster's 38–17 win against Glasgow Warriors in Round 2 of the 2016–17 European Rugby Champions Cup.[51] He was subsequently banned for two weeks.[52] On 7 January 2017, Earls won his 50th cap in the European Cup during Munster's 32–7 away win against Racing 92.[53] Earls scored two tries in Munster's 23–17 defeat at the hands of Leinster in the 2017–18 Pro14 on 7 October 2017.[54] He scored a try and earned the Man-of-the-Match award in Munster's 48–3 win against Castres on 21 January 2018, a win that secured a home quarter-final in the 2017–18 European Rugby Champions Cup.[55]

A knee injury sustained during the Six Nations with Ireland ruled Earls out for 6 weeks.[56] He won his 150th cap for Munster in the provinces 27–22 Champions Cup semi-final defeat at the hands of Racing 92 on 22 April 2018.[57] Earls was named the 2018 Munster Rugby Player of the Year in April 2018, having previously been nominated for the same award in 2010. Earls was also the Munster Academy Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year in 2007 and 2009 respectively, making him the first Munster player to win all three awards.[58][59] He scored a try and won the Man-of-the-Match award in Munster's 20–16 win against Edinburgh on 5 May 2018, a win that saw Munster progress to the semi-finals of the 2017–18 Pro14.[60]

In his first appearance of the 2018–19 season on 29 September 2018, Earls scored a try in Munster's 64–7 win against Ulster in round 5 of the 2018–19 Pro14.[61] Earls signed a contract extension with Munster and the IRFU in October 2018, a deal that will him remain with the province until at least June 2021.[62] He scored a hat-trick of tries in Munster's 44–14 win against Edinburgh on 30 November 2018.[63] Earls scored two tries, the latter the match-winner, in Munster 17–13 win against Edinburgh in their 2018–19 European Rugby Champions Cup quarter-final on 30 March 2019.[64]

IrelandEdit

2008–2013Edit

Earls made his debut for Ireland in November 2008 against Canada in Thomond Park. He scored his first international try with his first touch of the ball.[65] Earls was selected in Ireland's squad for the 2009 November Tests. He came on for the injured Luke Fitzgerald against Australia[66] and started against Fiji, a game in which he scored two tries, and South Africa.[67][68] He played in all 5 of Ireland's 2010 Six Nations Championship games, starting 4 of them. He scored a try against England and scored two more against Wales, finishing as joint top try scorer with Tommy Bowe, Shane Williams and James Hook.[69][70][71][72][73]

He was selected in Ireland's squad for their 2010 tour of New Zealand and Australia, though he had to pull out of the squad due to a groin injury.[74] He was in the Ireland squad for the 2010 Autumn Tests, coming on against South Africa, New Zealand and Argentina.[75][76][77] He started every game for Ireland during the 2011 Six Nations Championship, four on the left-wing and one at fullback.[78][79][80][81][82]

He was selected in Ireland's squad for the 2011 Rugby World Cup warm-ups in August,[83] playing in both tests against France.[84][85] He was selected in Ireland's final 30-man squad for the World Cup in New Zealand.[86] He started on the wing against the United States in Ireland's first Pool C game, and again against Australia during their historic 15–6 victory over the Wallabies. He was switched to outside-centre against Russia and scored two tries. He returned to the left-wing for Ireland's final Pool C game against Italy and, on his birthday, scored a brace of tries in the 36-6 win.[87][88][89][90] He scored his fifth World Cup try in Ireland's quarter-final defeat at the hands of Wales.[91] This total of five tries made him Ireland's top try scorer at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Earls was selected in Ireland's 24-man squad for the 2012 Six Nations Championship.[92] He was named in the team to face Wales in the opening fixture,[93] but had to withdraw from the team when his recently born daughter was taken ill. His place at outside centre was taken by Fergus McFadden.[94] He returned to the Ireland team for their game against Italy, scoring a try, and played against France, Scotland and England.[95][96][97][98]

He played at Inside Centre for Ireland in the first test against New Zealand on 9 June 2012, as part of a new centre-combination with Brian O'Driscoll.[99] Earls missed the second test due to a pectoral injury,[100] but returned to start the third test, this time on the left-wing.[101] Earls started at 13 for Ireland in the opening 2012 Guinness Series test against South Africa on 10 November 2012,[102] and again against Argentina on 24 November 2012.[103]

Earls was named in Ireland squad for the 2013 Six Nations Championship on 17 January 2013,[104] and came off the bench against Wales in Ireland's opening 30–22 win,[105] and their 12–6 defeat against England on 10 February 2013.[106] He came into the starting XV against Scotland after Simon Zebo's injury, starting in his place on the left-wing.[107] He continued there in the 13–13 draw against France.[108] He started against Italy in the final game of the tournament, but went off injured in the 24th minute.[109] On 23 October 2013, Earls was named in the Ireland squad for the 2013 Autumn Tests.[110]

2014–2019Edit

Earls was named in the Ireland squad for their 2014 Tour to Argentina on 19 May 2014.[111] However, Earls was ruled out of the tour with a viral infection.[112] Earls started for Ireland Wolfhounds in their game against England Saxons on 30 January 2015.[113] He was named in the Ireland squad for the opening rounds of the 2015 Six Nations Championship on 1 February 2015.[114]

Earls was named in the 45-man training squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup on 24 June 2015.[115] He started in the first World Cup warm-up against Wales on 8 August 2015, scoring a try and earning the Man-of-the-Match award in the 35–21 win for Ireland.[116] He started the warm-up game against Wales on 29 August 2015.[117] Earls was selected in the final 31-man squad for the World Cup when it was announced on 1 September 2015.[118] He started the opening pool game against Canada on 19 September 2015.[119] Earls started the second pool game against Romania on 27 September 2015, scoring two tries and earning the Man-of-the-Match award in Ireland's 44–10 win.[120] He started the third pool game against Italy on 4 October 2015, scoring Ireland's only try in their 16–9 win and, in doing so, overtaking Brian O'Driscoll as Ireland's leading try-scorer in Rugby World Cup history.[121] Earls started Ireland's 24–9 win against France on 11 October 2015.[122] He started for Ireland in the 43–20 quarter-final defeat against Argentina on 18 October 2015.[123]

On 20 January 2016, Earls was named in Ireland's 35-man squad for the 2016 Six Nations Championship.[124] On 7 February 2016, he started against Wales in Ireland's opening match of the Six Nations.[125] He missed the game against France on 13 February, but returned to start for Ireland against England, Italy and Scotland.[126][127][128][129] On 25 May 2016, Earls was named in the 32-man Ireland squad to tour South Africa in a 3-test series.[130] On 11 June 2016, Earls started in Ireland's historic first test win against South Africa in South Africa.[131] He missed the second test defeat, but returned to the starting XV for the third test, which Ireland lost 19–13.[132][133] On 26 October 2016, Earls was named in Ireland's squad for the 2016 end-of-year rugby union internationals.[134] However, his two-week suspension as a result of the red card he received against Glasgow Warriors meant that Earls missed Ireland's historic first ever victory against New Zealand in Soldier Field, Chicago on 5 November 2016.[135] He returned to the Ireland team for their 55–21 victory against Canada, scoring a try, and also scored a try in the 27–24 win against Australia.[136][137]

On 23 January 2017, Earls was named in the Ireland squad for the opening two rounds of the 2017 Six Nations Championship.[138] In Ireland's opening fixture of the tournament against Scotland on 4 February, Earls scored a try, though Ireland lost 27–22.[139] On 11 February, Earls scored two tries in Ireland's 63–10 win in the Stadio Olimpico against Italy.[140] He also started against France, Wales and England.[141][142][143] He was also selected in the squad for the 2017 Summer Tour against the United States and Japan.[144] On 10 June 2017, in the one-off test against the United States, Earls scored two tries, made three assists and won the Man-of-the-Match award in Ireland's 55–19 win in the Red Bull Arena, New Jersey.[145] On 17 June 2017, Earls again scored two tries, this time in Ireland's 50–22 win against Japan in Shizuoka Stadium, Shizuoka. His tally of nine tries in an international season set a new record for Ireland.[146] He also started the second test against Japan, which Ireland won 35–13 to seal the series victory.[147]

Earls started every game for Ireland as they won a Grand Slam in the 2018 Six Nations Championship, scoring a try against Italy.[148][149][150][151][152] He won the Players' Player of the Year award at the 2018 Rugby Players Ireland Awards in May of that year, becoming the fourth Munster player in a row to win the award after Conor Murray (2017), CJ Stander (2016) and Paul O'Connell (2015).[153] Earls started in all three tests in Ireland's historic 2–1 series victory against Australia in June 2018.[154][155][156] During the 2018 Autumn Tests, Earls started in Ireland's 28–17 win against Argentina on 10 November, and in their 16–9 win against New Zealand on 17 November, a win that was Earls' first against the All Blacks and Ireland's first ever win in Dublin against New Zealand.[157][158]

He was selected in the 31-man Ireland squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, despite injury preventing Earls from featuring in the first three warm-up matches.[159]

British and Irish LionsEdit

2009Edit

On 21 April 2009, Earls was selected as part of the 2009 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa.[160] He made his Lions debut on 30 May 2009, in a nervy, error-strewn performance against a South African Royal XV.[161] A week later, against Currie Cup outfit the Free State Cheetahs, he put in a far improved showing, scoring an impressive try which ultimately proved crucial to the result, with the Lions coming through to win 26–24.[162] On 23 June 2009, he scored a try from fullback in a tour match against the Emerging Springboks. On receiving the ball at the out half position and stepping past three rushing defenders, he touched down for the Lions' only try in a 13–13 draw.[163] Earls also played against Western Province and Southern Kings in mid-week games,[164][165] but he did not win any full Lions caps on the tour.

Personal lifeEdit

On 1 July 2016, Earls and his long-time partner, Edel McGee, married in Quilty, County Clare. They have two daughters, Ella-May and Laurie, together.[166]

StatisticsEdit

International triesEdit

Try Opposing team Location Venue Competition Date Result
1   Canada Limerick Thomond Park 2008 November Tests 8 November 2008 Won
2   Fiji Dublin RDS Arena 2009 November Tests 21 November 2009 Won
3   Fiji Dublin RDS Arena 2009 November Tests 21 November 2009 Won
4   England London Twickenham 2010 Six Nations 27 February 2010 Won
5   Wales Dublin Croke Park 2010 Six Nations 13 March 2010 Won
6   Wales Dublin Croke Park 2010 Six Nations 13 March 2010 Won
7   Russia Rotorua International Stadium 2011 Rugby World Cup 25 September 2011 Won
8   Russia Rotorua International Stadium 2011 Rugby World Cup 25 September 2011 Won
9   Italy Dunedin Forsyth Barr Stadium 2011 Rugby World Cup 2 October 2011 Won
10   Italy Dunedin Forsyth Barr Stadium 2011 Rugby World Cup 2 October 2011 Won
11   Wales Wellington Westpac Stadium 2011 Rugby World Cup 8 October 2011 Lost
12   Italy Dublin Aviva Stadium 2012 Six Nations 25 February 2012 Won
13   Wales Cardiff Millennium Stadium 2015 RWC warm-up 8 August 2015 Won
14   Romania London Wembley Stadium 2015 Rugby World Cup 27 September 2015 Won
15   Romania London Wembley Stadium 2015 Rugby World Cup 27 September 2015 Won
16   Italy London Olympic Stadium 2015 Rugby World Cup 4 October 2015 Won
17   Scotland Dublin Aviva Stadium 2016 Six Nations 19 March 2016 Won
18   Canada Dublin Aviva Stadium 2016 November Tests 12 November 2016 Won
19   Australia Dublin Aviva Stadium 2016 November Tests 26 November 2016 Won
20   Scotland Edinburgh Murrayfield 2017 Six Nations 4 February 2017 Lost
21   Italy Rome Stadio Olimpico 2017 Six Nations 11 February 2017 Won
22   Italy Rome Stadio Olimpico 2017 Six Nations 11 February 2017 Won
23   United States New Jersey Red Bull Arena 2017 Ireland Tour 10 June 2017 Won
24   United States New Jersey Red Bull Arena 2017 Ireland Tour 10 June 2017 Won
25   Japan Shizuoka Shizuoka Stadium 2017 Ireland Tour 17 June 2017 Won
26   Japan Shizuoka Shizuoka Stadium 2017 Ireland Tour 17 June 2017 Won
27   Italy Dublin Aviva Stadium 2018 Six Nations 10 February 2018 Won
28   Scotland Edinburgh Murrayfield 2019 Six Nations 9 February 2019 Won
29   Italy Rome Stadio Olimpico 2019 Six Nations 24 February 2019 Won
30   France Dublin Aviva Stadium 2019 Six Nations 10 March 2019 Won

International analysis by oppositionEdit

Against Played Won Lost Drawn Tries Points % Won
  Argentina 4 3 1 0 0 0 75
  Australia 6 4 1 1 1 5 66.67
  Canada 3 3 0 0 2 10 100
  England 9 4 5 0 1 5 44.44
  Fiji 1 1 0 0 2 10 100
  France 10 4 4 2 1 5 40
  Italy 10 9 1 0 8 40 90
  Japan 3 2 1 0 2 10 66.67
  New Zealand 6 1 5 0 0 0 16.67
  Romania 1 1 0 0 2 10 100
  Russia 2 2 0 0 2 10 100
  Samoa 1 1 0 0 0 0 100
  Scotland 8 5 3 0 3 15 62.5
  South Africa 5 2 3 0 0 0 40
  United States 2 2 0 0 2 10 100
  Wales 11 5 5 1 4 20 50
Total 82 49 29 4 30 150 59.76

Correct as of 19 October 2019[167]

HonoursEdit

St Munchin's CollegeEdit

MunsterEdit

IrelandEdit

British and Irish LionsEdit

  • British and Irish Lions tours:

ReferencesEdit

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