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Keith Earls releases statement addressing 'poorly worded interview'

The Munster player has moved to clarify comments he made in relation to his red card against Glasgow.

Keith Earls was sent off against Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park on 22 October.
Keith Earls was sent off against Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park on 22 October.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

KEITH EARLS HAS insisted that he apologised to Glasgow Warriors hooker Fraser Brown for an incident which saw the Munster wing sent off in their 38-17 win against the Scottish side in October.

Following what was deemed a dangerous tackle, Earls was shown a red card by referee Jerome Garces in the 19th minute of the European Champions Cup game at Thomond Park on 22 October — a day after the funeral of Munster head coach Anthony Foley.

Earls was subsequently handed a two-week ban which ruled him out of Ireland’s historic win against New Zealand in Chicago. However, the Limerick native returned for the victory against Australia.

Prior to the meeting with the Wallabies in Dublin, Earls addressed his red card against Glasgow in an interview with the assembled press, including The42‘s Murray Kinsella.

“I suppose the only thing I do apologise for — I don’t apologise for anything else — is kicking the bottles on the side of the pitch. I wouldn’t like to see a young lad doing that at underage or some young lad at Thomond Park. I suppose I’ve been waiting to be interviewed to apologise for that. I don’t apologise for the rest of it,” Earls said at the time.

“I spoke to Fraser Brown on the phone and I felt he could have done a bit more. Yes, I did lift his leg but I felt he could have done a bit more to save the impact. The way he went, I thought he was going for it a small bit, to be honest with you.

“I spoke to him and he said he was just trying to protect himself. I felt I was cheated really going off the pitch; they denied me an opportunity to put in a performance for my head coach and the Munster supporters, so I kind of lost it a bit coming off the pitch.”

Keith Earls walks off the pitch as he is given a red card 22/10//2016 Earls: "It is important [that] 22 October in Thomond Park is remembered for the right reasons." Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Earls received some criticism for the lack of remorse he appeared to show in the interview. The 29-year-old, who played for Munster in Saturday’s impressive defeat of Leicester Tigers, has issued a statement today via Munster Rugby in an attempt to clarify his comments.

He said: “I wish to address my part in the Champions Cup Munster v Glasgow Warriors game and a subsequent interview I held, as the incident in question has rumbled on for a number of weeks and in addressing this I hope to put to bed a matter that has escalated because of my own doing.

“In a poorly worded interview on my part I failed to acknowledge that I apologised to Fraser Brown for my actions during the Munster v Glasgow Warriors game. I also failed to confirm that I acknowledged I had committed an act of foul play, and fully accepted the corresponding sanction, apologising to Glasgow Warriors and EPCR for my conduct.

“I have since written to EPCR once again confirming my acceptance of the disciplinary decision and outcome. I have also addressed the misunderstanding directly with Fraser and unreservedly apologised again for my actions and the wording I used during the interview.

“I hope this paints a clearer picture for all and I believe it is important [that] 22 October in Thomond Park is remembered for the right reasons and not for something I deeply regret.”

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Paul Dollery

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