Keith Earls has released a strongly-worded statement in an attempt to draw a line under his red card against Glasgow at Thomond Park six weeks ago.
Earls was given his marching orders for a dangerous tackle on Warriors hooker Fraser Brown, and en route off the field of play pointed an accusatory finger at Brown, seemingly implying that the Scot had 'made the most' of the challenge to get Earls in trouble.
A month later, Earls spoke at an Ireland press conference and when quizzed about the issue suggested the only thing he would apologise for is kicking bottles at the side of the pitch, also suggesting that Brown "could have done a bit more" than, well, plummeting backwards under Earls' tackle. It was a raw and honest assessment of a difficult day by Earls, which was both praised and criticised in equal measure. You can read those comments here.
Today, however, Earls has seemingly taken back a number of his remarks about his own behaviour and that of Brown, releasing the following statement on Munster's website:
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 October 22nd in Thomond Park is remembered for the right reasons and not for something I deeply regret.
Earls was banned for two weeks for his tackle, missing Ireland's first Test with the All Blacks in Chicago. Munster have won a further five games on the bounce since victory over Glasgow, marking their recent resurgence with a resounding victory over Leicester at the weekend.
During the aforementioned interview last month, Earls said of their fortunes:
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.
There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of him and think about his family and his kids.