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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 12 December, 2018

They're staying! Keith Earls and Conor Murray have both signed new IRFU contracts

Star duo commit to Munster and Ireland until after 2019 World Cup.

Murray and Earls will be wearing the red of Munster until 2019.
Murray and Earls will be wearing the red of Munster until 2019.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

MUNSTER HAVE MANAGED to hold on to two of their prize talents with confirmation that Keith Earls and Conor Murray have both signed new IRFU contracts.

Earls committed his future to Munster with a new three-year deal — just days after he was strongly linked with a move to Aviva Premiership champions Saracens.

And Anthony Foley’s side received a further boost as scrum-half Murray agreed a similar extension which will keep him at the province through to the end of the 2019 World Cup.

The IRFU announced both deals within minutes of each other this afternoon as Ireland continue preparations for their Six Nations opener against Wales on 7 February.

Earls, 28, was thought to be on the brink of a move to Saracens earlier this week with family matters believed to be a key consideration in the cross-channel switch.

But Munster never gave up hope of holding on to the ‘world-class’ wing and, as late as yesterday, said that a deal to keep him at Thomond Park could still be done.

“We are delighted that Keith has signed a new IRFU contract which will see him remain a Munster player until the end of the 2019 season,” IRFU performance director David Nucifora said in a statement.

“Keith is a gifted footballer and has shown great commitment throughout his rugby career for both Munster and Ireland.

The IRFU are committed to retaining players like Keith and we know that Munster and Ireland supporters will be delighted with today’s news.

Fears that Murray could be tempted abroad were largely allayed in December when the scrum-half publicly stated his desire to agree a new deal.

“Having come through the Munster Academy it was a special moment for me and my family when I made my Munster debut in 2010, and to go on to represent Ireland is every young rugby player’s dream,” he said in a statement.

“I look forward to pulling on the Munster and Ireland jerseys in the years to come.”

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Niall Kelly

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