“It’s starting to creep in a small bit that players are leaving the Irish provinces” – Keith Earls

Munster Rugby’s Keith Earls recently spoke about the decision of Simon Zebo to move to France to play club rugby next season and admitted that some home comforts helped him come to a decision when Saracens came knocking on his door in January 2016.

Limerick-born Earls, who has scored 41 tries in 143 appearances for Munster Rugby, hopes the flood gates won’t open and many more Irish players follow Zebo’s example and leave for France and England:

“It’s starting to creep in a small bit that players are leaving the Irish provinces a bit more than we would like.”

The winger admitted that his desire to keep playing international rugby was a key factor in his decision to remain with the southern province and he signed a three-year contract extension to remain with his home province instead.

Speaking at Life Style Sports in Limerick recently, Earls, who has 62 Ireland international caps, admitted that the lure of the Six Nations tournament as well as the competitive yearly autumn internationals which always give Irish players an opportunity to test themselves against the southern hemisphere’s best players helped him make a decision:

“The Six Nations is a massive tournament, the November internationals are always challenging when you get to play against the southern hemisphere. It’s huge; it’s a lot to give up to head away to France or England or wherever it is. And getting to play with the club I grew up loving (that’s why I stayed). Home comforts are great but sometimes fellas like a challenge and some fellas want to see if the grass is greener and that’s always in the back of your mind.”

The Limerick man who tore his hamstring during Ireland camp prior to last month’s Guinness Series of autumn internationals missed Munster’s Champions Cup win over Leicester Tigers at Thomond Park on Saturday last. The “Moyross Magician” is hoping to return to action for the St. Stephen’s Day Guinness Pro14 interprovincial derby match with Leinster Rugby at Thomond Park.




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