Flying Earls back in business with Ireland

Colm Kinsella

Reporter:

Colm Kinsella

Keith Earls touches down for Ireland in their World Cup warm-up win over Wales at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff on Saturday
WORTH waiting for! Munster star Keith Earls enjoyed a stunning comeback in the green of Ireland when scoring a smashing try as Joe Schmidt’s side scored an impressive 35-21 victory over Wales in their World Cup warm-up game at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

WORTH waiting for! Munster star Keith Earls enjoyed a stunning comeback in the green of Ireland when scoring a smashing try as Joe Schmidt’s side scored an impressive 35-21 victory over Wales in their World Cup warm-up game at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

Dazzling Earls, making his first appearance for Ireland in 29 months, boosted his chances of being included in Schmidt’s 31-man final World Cup squad with a classy display in Cardiff.

Afterwards 27-year-old Limerickman Earls admitted he had suffered from nerves in the run-up to Saturday’s game.

Earls said: “I’ve probably had the worst 24 hours of my life with nerves but it was great to get back and get my first game under Joe (Schmidt). Thankfully everything went well.

“We pulled away from Wales, we got a couple of good scores, but obviously there’s a lot of stuff to work on as well. There was a couple of individuals who put their hand up, especially in a hostile environment coming over here with passionate Welsh fans roaring and shouting at you.

“It was a first game in a couple of months for a few fellas so we were sucking diesel a bit.”

Asked about his first half try, Earls told RTE: “It was an unbelievable read by Trimby (Andrew Trimble), hitting the second last attacker, the ball just fell into my hands. I’ve been waiting two and a half years for this chance and it was great to get back out there with the lads.

“Wales are a top quality team, no matter what players they have out. At the end of the day it’s Test rugby and it’s a step up from Heineken Cup, Pro12, Premiership or whatever so we’re quite happy.”

Munster second-row Donnacha Ryan also impressed in his first game for Ireland in 29 injury-ravaged months. Ryan will also be hoping to make Joe Schmidt’s final World Cup squad. However, Munster flanker Tommy O’Donnell will hope his World Cup dream isn’t already over as he picked up an unfortunate hip injury in Cardiff. O’Donnell had been hugely influential in the back-row battle before being carried off on a stretcher late on.