“I appreciated every moment” – Ireland legend Keith Earls confirms his retirement from rugby

“I appreciated every moment” – Ireland legend Keith Earls confirms his retirement from rugby

Munster Rugby have today announced the retirement of veteran winger Keith Earls.

Keith Earls has today called time on his 16-year professional career with Munster and Ireland.

The 36-year-old hangs up his boots after winning the United Rugby Championship for Graham Rowntree’s men and contributing to Ireland’s 2023 Rugby World Cup effort.

Earls scored 36 tries for his country which places him at second in the all-time standings, only beaten by fellow Ireland legend Brian O’Driscoll.

He also retires as Munster’s second highest try-scorer with 64 tries in 202 games. Always an exceptional player but extra impressive was Earls’s end-of-career renaissance as he won both the Munster and Ireland Player of the Year prizes in 2018.

Keith Earls retires from rugby.

“While retirement is never an easy decision, now is the right time and I feel incredibly fortunate to go out on my own terms representing Ireland on the highest stage,” Earls told Munsterrugby.ie.

“To all the coaches, teachers and volunteers who encouraged and guided me in Thomond, Garryowen and Young Munster and at school in St. Munchin’s College, I am indebted to you for your friendship and support over the years.

“Playing for Munster has given me some of the greatest days of my life,”

“The victories, the heartaches, the camaraderie and the friendships with so many players, coaches and support staff over the years has positively impacted my life more than you will ever know.

“Being a Munster supporter growing up, before I even got the chance to pull on the jersey meant that I appreciated every moment to represent my province across my 202 appearances.

“I was so honoured to be a part of our URC success last season and I have no doubt that it will be a launchpad for the squad to soar even higher in the years to come.

Rowntree tribute.

“Earlsie is an icon of Munster and Irish rugby,” said Munster head coach Graham Rowntree. ” It’s hard to imagine Munster Rugby without Keith Earls and he has given so much to this province.

“He is an incredibly popular member of the squad and the ultimate Munster man, always putting the team first.

“With more than 200 Munster appearances, over 100 Ireland caps, touring with the Lions…he’s seen and done it all.

“Supporters absolutely love him for being the man that he is and he deserves all of the praise that comes his way. We will miss him but I am delighted that he is retiring on his own terms.

“Scoring that brilliant try for Ireland on his 100th cap was a great way to mark a special occasion and I’m so pleased that his last game for Munster ended with him lifting the URC trophy, no-one deserved it more.”#

Read the full statement from Munster Rugby here.