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The IRFU tie down another one of their centrally contracted stars

By Ciarán Kennedy
Keith Earls has signed a new contract with the IRFU. (Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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The IRFU have announced that Keith Earls has signed a one-year extension to his IRFU contract. Earls is one of the IRFU’s centrally contracted players, with his contract entirely funded by the union, and his new deal keeps him at Munster until 2022.

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Earls, 33, made his Ireland debut against Canada in 2009 and is Ireland’s second top try-scorer of all time, behind Brian O’Driscoll, scoring 33 tries across 91 Test caps.

A former British and Irish Lion, Earls made his Munster debut in 2007 and has scored 57 tries in 177 appearances for the province.

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The wing has remained a key part of the Ireland squad since Andy Farrell succeeded Joe Schmidt following the 2019 World Cup, and started in Ireland’s Six Nations defeats to Wales and France this season, before a try-scoring cameo off the bench against Italy.

Earls is the latest centrally contracted player to agree new terms with the IRFU, following new deals for Iain Henderson, Johnny Sexton, Peter O’Mahony and Cian Healy.

Henderson and O’Mahony both signed two-year extensions, while Sexton and Healy have signed one-year deals.

Tadhg Furlong and CJ Stander are also believed to be close to agreeing new contracts with the union.

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“Keith is a vastly experienced senior international player who continues to perform for both Ireland and Munster,” said David Nucifora, the IRFU’s Performance Director.

“He is a model professional and sets a great example for young players coming through in both the provincial and national environments.”

“Munster and Ireland are building strong squads with exciting talent coming through ensuring two very competitive environments<” Earls added..

“I want to play a role for Munster this season and next and I am as passionate as ever about pulling on the green jersey and being successful with Ireland.”

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