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Earls Excelling On World Stage

30th September 2015 By Munster Rugby

Earls Excelling On World Stage

Munster’s Keith Earls is now Ireland’s joint top Rugby World Cup try scorer, alongside Brian O’Driscoll on 7 tries, and boasts one of the best strike rates in the tournament’s history following his brace against Romania last Sunday.

Munster’s Keith Earls is now Ireland’s joint top Rugby World Cup try scorer, alongside Brian O’Driscoll on 7 tries, and boasts one of the best strike rates in the tournament’s history following his brace against Romania last Sunday.

The Munster winger has certainly caught the eye since ending his two-year absence from the Ireland team last month, recapturing some of his best form with a run of three tries in four starts.

He touched down in each half during Ireland's 44-10 bonus point victory over the Romanians – his third Rugby World Cup double after braces against Russia and Italy in 2011 – and is now level with former team-mate Brian O'Driscoll on seven RWC tries.

Having also crosses in Ireland’s quarter-final defeat to Wales in 2011, the Moyross-man has a tournament strike-rate of seven tries in as many appearances.

Speaking after Sunday's win at Wembley, Earls praised the 'phenomenal' support provided by the record crowd of 89,267 and was quick to single out two of his team-mates for their handiwork in creating his tries.

"It's thanks to the lads that are around me. It's the team, it's all about the team with us and you see it, some unbelievable skill from Zeebs (Simon Zebo) and Reddser (Eoin Reddan) to put me away, and the same with Tommy (Bowe), the boys inside us made us look good today.”

After an injury-disrupted couple of seasons, the 27-year-old looks as sharp as ever and is clearly determined to do everything in his power to hold onto a starting berth with the crunch Pool D clashes against Italy and France looming.

"I'm looking after myself, that's the main thing. I'm staying healthy, I'm keeping my head down and I just want to play every week.

"You could see all the boys were good. As I said, all I can do is go out there and play to the best of my ability and hopefully give Joe (Schmidt) a headache."

Earls' appearance on Sunday was ended prematurely with a neck injury. He passed a head injury assessment during the second half but had reported 'some neck stiffness' on Monday morning according to Ireland Team Manager Michael Kearney.

Earls completed his return-to-play protocols yesterday with Kearney confirming on Monday, "It's a three-step process, so he completed the one coming off the pitch and was allowed to come back on. Then he had the stage two post-game and he'll go through stage three tomorrow (Tuesday).

"That's the formula and that's how it will happen. It was part of the plan that he would come off after 60 minutes, that was the plan."

The Munster flyer himself admitted: "It was fine. I just took a bang to the neck, that's all. It actually happened in the first half, running into one of the forwards from the Romania side. Kinda poor technique out of myself, flash-backs to the Welsh game, but all's good and the head's fine. I just jarred the neck a bit."

Ireland continue their 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign against Italy at the Olympic Stadium in London this Sunday at 4.45pm.

Look back at Earls and Ireland in action at the 2015 Rugby World Cup here:

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