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Keith Earls Spoke With Raw Honesty About That Glasgow Game And The Death Of Anthony Foley

Keith Earls Spoke With Raw Honesty About That Glasgow Game And The Death Of Anthony Foley
By Balls Team Updated

It's a little over a month since the funeral of Anthony Foley and the incredible raw emotion of the game against Glasgow at Thomond Park which came just a day after the burial of the Munster head coach.

Keith Earls has been waiting since then to talk about that game. The Munster back spoke to the media yesterday after being named to start for Ireland against Australia this weekend.

Earls was sent off 19 minutes into the game against Glasgow which Munster would eventually win 38-17. The 28-year-old had one apology to make regarding that game, it was not for being sent-off. Instead, it was for kicking bottles on the sideline after being shown red by referee Jerome Garces.

Yeah it was tough. It was a massive game, it meant a lot to us. It was a tough week in general; from burying your head coach and then an hour later doing a captain's run. It's just not right.

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, but I don't apologise for the rest of it.

Earls's red card was for a tip-tackle on Glasgow's Fraser Brown. He says he walked off the Thomond Park pitch feeling cheated - that the chance to show what Anthony Foley meant to him had been wrongly taken away.

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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.

The Munster performance against Glasgow was driven by a controlled passion. Going into the game, many were unsure how the players would react. It was a unique situation.

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Earls says that the performance was a result of the Munster players relaxing and realising that they just needed to start taking the chances which they had been creating in previous games.

We relaxed. The week was crazy but I suppose for a lot of us, it put things in perspective. Down in Munster, it's been a tough two years.

Axel went through a tough two years and we kind of said 'He's not here anymore. His wife and kids are at home and their lives have been turned upside down'.

We got worried about a lot of rugby matches. I was like 'It's stupid really. We need to go out and relax and take the chances'.

And that's what we did against Glasgow and that's what we've done ever since. I suppose it's a pity that it's after taking our head coach to die for us to play the way he wanted us to play. But that's what it is.

Munster appointed Rassie Erasmus to the role of Director of Rugby this season. It's the first time the province have had someone in such a position.

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The South African's arrival took responsibilities from Foley, allowing him to do what he loved - to coach. Earls says it was obvious that Foley was in a good place this season.

Being part of the senior players down in Munster, we would have had a lot of chats with Axel. He'd kind of get his side over to us and we'd try and get it into the squad.

I think Axel was very comfortable in his role. He didn't have to deal with the man-management point of view, the province as a whole or dealing with media. He just got to coach.

You'd say something if it was two years ago when he dies, you would have been like 'Yeah, jeez he's stressed. The stress of the job has done it to him.' But he was actually really happy. He was getting messages across clear. Himself and Rassie were really starting to click.

We would have been heading in the right direction anyway but it's a different situation now the way it's after going.

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of him and think about his family and his kids.

Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

See Also: Paul O'Connell Explains Why New Zealand Went 'Over The Edge' Against Ireland

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