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27th Jun 2018

Australian match report mistake about Keith Earls is actually a huge compliment

Patrick McCarry

We’re sure the Munster winger will let this one slide.

Keith Earls completed a season in which he won Ireland’s Players’ Player of the Year and a Grand Slam by helping his country win their first Test series Down Under in 39 years. He was concussed in Brisbane, early in the First Test, but returned for Melbourne and Sydney and was solid as a rock.

The 30-year-old has completed one hell of a season, following a fantastic 2016/17, and will be right back at it come late July, tearing into yet another pre-season.

The form of evergreen Earls was discussed on The Hard Yards [from 32:00]. Despite naming him as one of the tour’s stand-out players, Sydney Morning Herald rugby correspondent Georgina Robinson had a confession to make about an Earls error in her match report.

Robinson was at Allianz Stadium last Saturday, as Ireland clinched the series with a 20-16 victory, and she praised Conor Murray, Johnny Sexton, Devin Toner and CJ Stander as having big influences on Joe Schmidt’s men coming back from 1-0 down.

She took time out, too, to pay tribute to Earls. “I just thought Ireland’s work-rate was incredible,” she began. “Their aggression was incredible

“Another guy that stood out was Keith Earls. I actually mistook him, in my match copy, for a 21-year-old and it was pointed out to me that he was in his 30s (laughs), so that was pretty embarrassing.

“But he just produced the goods time and again. He was fantastic to watch. Guys like Earls really brought the game home.”

That he did. Earls was extremely good under high balls and so smart in defence out in the wide channels, left and right, throughout the series. Jordan Larmour and Andrew Conway impressed in their time on the pitch, Down Under, but Earls remains Ireland’s 14, no doubt.

We’re sure the Limerick native would be pleased to have nine years shaved off his birth cert age. In fairness to Robinson, too, Earls has not changed to drastically over the past decade, since he made his Ireland debut against Canada at Thomond Park.

Forever young.