Just when we thought he was off, Keith Earls is staying at Munster

He has signed a three-year deal with the IRFU, while Conor Murray also agrees a new contract

Keith Earls, Munster

Keith Earls ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Munster and Ireland star Keith Earls has signed a three-year deal with the IRFU.

Expected to join English Premiership side Saracens, a U-turn appears to have occurred as the versatile winger and centre will be staying put. 

The IRFU and Earls confirmed the turn of events this afternoon, as well as revealing that the player's Munster and Ireland team-mate Conor Murray has also signed a new central contract. 

"I am delighted to have signed a new IRFU contract to allow me to continue playing my rugby in Ireland and I look forward to playing my role in bringing success to both Munster and Ireland," said Earls.

IRFU Performance Director David Nucifora also expressed delight at the development.

He said: "We are delighted that Keith has signed a new IRFU contract which will see him remain a Munster player until the end of the 2019 season. Keith is a gifted footballer and has shown great commitment throughout his rugby career for both Munster and Ireland. The IRFU are committed to retaining players like Keith and we know that Munster and Ireland supporters will be delighted with today's news."

Keith Earls and Conor Murray ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Meanwhile, Murray's deal also takes him through to 2019 and the highly-rated scrum-half spoke positively of staying at Munster. 

"I am delighted to sign a new IRFU contract to continue playing my rugby with Munster. Having come through the Munster Academy it was a special moment for me and my family when I made my Munster debut in 2010, and to go on to represent Ireland is every young rugby player's dream. I look forward to pulling on the Munster and Ireland jerseys in the years to come," he said.