Irish Daily Mirror - - SPORTS - BY MICHAEL SCULLY

KEITH EARLS ad­mits his newly signed Mun­ster con­tract could be his last but he’s right on course with his ca­reer plan.

The 31-year-old re­cently penned a deal that will take him up to 2021 with the prov­ince.

“It was great, es­pe­cially with a year still left on it,” he said. “This will take me to 34, it po­ten­tially could be my last one.

“But, for me, at my age it would have been Novem­ber 2012, I hadn’t played for four or five weeks and I ended up start­ing against South Africa.

“If it was nowa­days, you’ve two or three fel­las who can eas­ily slot in. You wouldn’t even get in the squad, never mind the team.

“It has been bril­liant. At the last World Cup, that’s what got us. We lost a lot of play­ers but now we have four or five fel­las who could eas­ily come in in any po­si­tion.

“You saw it in the Six Na­tions when Rob­bie Hen­shaw got in­jured, Chris Far­rell got in­jured and all of a sud­den Garry Rin­grose is play­ing. He’s world class, you know. It’s credit to the coaches, credit to the play­ers and the depth we have.”

So did any of those left be­hind watch­ing the eight-try fest in Chicago last week­end have some mixed emo­tions about what they were see­ing un­fold at Sol­dier Field?

“Oh no,” replied Earls. “You want to see Ire­land do well.

“There are a lot of fel­las putting their hands up and we’re con­stantly look­ing over our backs at what’s com­ing.

“But you have to have con­fi­dence within your­self and within the team that you can find a bal­ance to get ahead.” silly to go abroad. First of all I love play­ing for Mun­ster and Ire­land. Body-wise, phys­i­cally, men­tally and off the field, Ire­land and the prov­inces look af­ter you so well.

“That was a mas­sive fac­tor, the way I’m looked af­ter here. It’s my home and I don’t want to play any­where else.

“I know fel­las, in­volved in talks now, where it is not work­ing out and they get dis­tracted and it takes away from their game.”

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