In rising to the top of his sport, Keith Earls has encountered his fair share of difficulties. Finding the form of his life as he settles into his early 30s, the Munster star nevertheless tends to garner as much positive attention for his off-field work.
Born within walking distance of Thomond Park, the player who would play a pivotal role in Ireland's 2018 Grand Slam win harboured crippling thoughts of self-doubt throughout a significant portion of his professional career.
Speaking of the player and his development to Balls, Eddie O'Sullivan recalled a "nervous" young man; "He was quite superstitious [and] that mental approach to the game didn't help him."
Since taking hold of these inner-demons and reaching a place where he feels happy within himself, O'Sullivan believes Ireland have the player that always appeared to be locked within such a prodigious talent; "Everytime he touches the ball, something good happens."
Having taken charge of his own internal issues, Earls has done what he can to help others. Be they fellow professionals, or, as was the case earlier this year, Limerick's senior hurlers, Earls' ability to speak from a place of personal experience lends greats worth to the message he is trying to impart.
Prior to their ending of a 45-year wait for the All-Ireland hurling championship, the Munster & Ireland man met with John Kiely's team for a preparatory talk. Brought in for what he described as a Q&A session with the players, Earls played down the extent of his role in a subsequent interview with the Limerick Leader.
His humility notwithstanding, Cian Tracey revealed in his Independent article that the Limerick hurlers were "seriously impressed" with Earls' contribution.
Assisting with the mental preparation of a team saddled with incredibly negative baggage going back decades, it is perhaps more telling of Earls' determination to do as much good as is feasibly possible that he had no intention of accepting payment for his services.
What did he do instead? Well, Keith Earls donated the money to charity.
Closer to home, Earls has left a mark on some of his teammates, also. Leinster and Ireland's Jordan Larmour is one who speaks highly of Earls' advice; Andrew Conway is another.
"I chat to Earlsy a bit about the mental side of things. What he says is that we train hard and do everything in the week to get ready for the game but when the whistle blows for start of the 80 minutes nothing else matters - that's what you're judged on."
A figure widely respected beyond the realms of the rugby world alone, Keith Earls' desire to assist those who may be struggling with their own internal issues is as admirable as he is clearly effective at it.