Andy Farrell delighted he persuaded Keith Earls not to retire from rugby last year

Ireland head coach calls winger ‘outstanding’ as he looks forward to the World Cup in France

During the Ireland squad announcement, Andy Farrell spoke about how he actively tried to persuade Keith Earls, successfully as it transpires, not to retire from rugby in early 2022.

The Ireland head coach was asked specifically about the Munster wing, who won his 100th cap against England at the Aviva Stadium last Saturday week, a tally to which he would have added but for a minor niggle that ruled him out of the Samoa match on the day of the game.

Farrell said: “That’s one thing [in speaking about several players who came through from the Emerging Ireland tour to South Africa in October 2022] and then you go to the other end of the scale and Keith Earls.

“I had a conversation 18 months ago to try to stop him from retiring. He’s certainly come through the other side. He’s been outstanding over the last nine weeks as regards giving to the squad, his whole self, his experience et cetera but at the same time being as fit and excited as I’ve ever seen him. You go from one extreme to the other.”


Earls will be grateful that Farrell prevailed upon him to play on, winning a URC title with Munster and now looking forward to a World Cup in France.

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan is an Irish Times sports writer