Munster's Ian Costello addresses speculation surrounding the future of Keith Earls

Reports have suggested the Munster player is on the verge of a move away from the province.

Keith earls, Ian Costello, Munster,

Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Speculation that Keith Earls was on the verge of a move to Saracens broke early on Tuesday, and was a major talking point after the squad trained that afternoon. 

However, speaking to Limerick's Live 95FM Sport, Munster assistant coach Ian Costello was keen to play down any talk of Earls' flight.

"We've heard the speculation this morning as well, but from our point of view that's what it is; rumours, speculation. Bottom line is his negotiations are with the IRFU, he's centrally contracted [...] we hope his negotiations with the IRFU are successful over the next 24 hours". 

Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

He added that, with so many players being linked to different clubs as they go through the process of agreeing a new contract, it has become "nearly par for the course" that players use a possible departure as a bargaining tool.

Costello did, however, admit that they were still in the dark a bit at the province: "I don't know how strong the speculation is, but from our point of view he's a quality player, a quality person, and we want to keep everybody of that calibre at the club, so we just hope that business gets done today".

He also emphasised that Earls "is a world class player," and that given the difficulties that the whole team has been through during their bad run of form, his role has been pivotal in the dressing room.  

"Keith is part of our leadership group, he's one of the key drivers within the group. The likes of Keith, and a couple of other players, have stepped up into that role, especially in the last four to six weeks as times have been a little more challenging".