Thursday 23 May 2019

Keith Earls: Leinster setting world standards


Earls: "You’d be unbelievably jealous of them but it’s really impressive what they’ve achieved." Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Keith Earls has paid tribute to Leinster's European Champions Cup-winning team but he said he and his Munster team-mates will happily bring them down to earth this weekend.

The winger was last night crowned Rugby Players Ireland Player of the Year at a gala dinner in Dublin after an excellent season for his province and with Ireland.

The 30-year-old was delighted to accept the award but his main focus is on winning the Guinness PRO14 and Saturday's semi-final against Leinster is at the front of his mind.

Having watched the Blues beat Racing 92 in Bilbao last weekend, Earls hopes Munster have what it takes to end their season at the RDS this weekend.

"They are setting the standard in world rugby, it's not just European rugby, they're setting the standard," he said.

"You'd be unbelievably jealous of them but it's really impressive what they've achieved.

"You don't need extra motivation for Munster and Leinster but we're the first ones to get a crack at the European champions so we're really going to test ourselves and hopefully we can turn them over."

Leinster ended a four-year period without a trophy with last weekend's win, while Munster are targeting a first title since their 2011 Celtic League triumph.

"We're constantly hungry for silverware and we came up short in Europe again this year," Earls said.

"It has been too long for our expectations and our supporters' expectations, and the players we have.

"There's definitely a massive hunger to close in that gap."

Analysis: The players' player beats all-comers to cap season to remember. See Page 55

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