Rugby World Cup 2019

Keith Earls relishing first taste of #RWC2019 ahead of Japan clash

Alan English in Japan

Reporter:

Alan English in Japan

Keith Earls relishing first taste of #RWC2019 ahead of Japan clash

Keith Earls relishing first taste of #RWC2019 ahead of Japan clash

Keith Earls has now been named to start for Ireland against Japan in the team's second Pool A game at the Rugby World Cup on Saturday.

The Munster man was replaced by Andrew Conway in the opening game against Scotland and Earls was quick to praise his clubmate this week.

"It doesn’t surprise me the way he played. I am around him quite a bit, he is unbelievably professional. I see how he prepares for games, I see how he looks after himself.

“It didn’t bother me at all because I know how hard he works. I suppose it’s a nice little battle now for the back three. Whatever happens, we will just keep pushing each other.” 

Speaking about the knee injury he picked up in the warm-up game with Wales, Earls said: “It was something that was bothering me for a week or two leading up into that. 

"Thankfully it wasn’t too serious and thankfully I was on the plane and hopefully looking forward to getting a run out this week."

“There is a lot of pressure on after the way the lads played at the weekend.”

On avoiding an upset against Japan, he added: "I think that happens if you disrespect your opposition and that’s something we don’t do because sport is a funny thing and we’ll prepare for Scotland, Japan…whoever it is, we’ll prepare the same way as everyone. You don’t want to be part of that team that does have a slip up in a World Cup.”