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Keith Earls details just how little confidence he had when he burst onto the scene


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There may be a sense of disappointment for Keith Earls as he and his Munster team-mates stomach the feeling of losing to Racing 92 in the European Rugby Champions Cup semi finals.

But on an individual level over the past 18 months, the 2018 Six Nations Grand Slam winner has emerged as a sterling talent for province and country, putting in pivotal performances on the wing.

However, confidence was certainly an issue for him during his early career as he admitted when he joined Joe for a chat this Monday night.

The 2009 Lions tour stands out as an example when he was selected to travel less than a year after his full Ireland debut.

"I came in as a young 21 year old but I was picked by the Lions and then I came across a couple of comments and that knocked my confidence even before going out there," he said, pointing out that he felt a little out of place in a squad of experienced Lions, Grand Slam winners and regular internationals.

Rugby Players Ireland and Zurich have today teamed up with Irish international rugby player Keith Earls to announce the nominees for the 2018 Zurich Players’ Player of the Year Award. The Zurich Irish Rugby Players Awards, one of the biggest nights in Irish sport, will take place on Wednesday, 16th May, at the Clayton Hotel in Ballsbridge ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

A mistake in one of the midweek games knocked his already brittle confidence even further to the point that he personally apologised to his team-mates for what was in essence a minor error.

"I remember going around and apologising to the lads that night! 'Sorry, I was brutal', and that was just a sign of mental weakness on my part."

Yet his team-mates reminded him that anyone can make a mistake.

"Shane Williams, obviously, he was great [to me] and Rob Howley was great as well for me. I remember Rob Howley telling me, 'The jersey can make you feel six foot tall or it can make you feel six inches tall', and obviously I was the six inches."


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