Earls - Dream come true
Home ground debut "that extra bit special"
Last Updated: 06/11/08 8:07am
Keith Earls has admitted that, whilst making his Ireland debut this weekend will be a "dream come true", taking to the field in a green jersey at his home Thomond Park will be "that extra bit special".
The 21-year-old Munster player is the only new cap in the squad announced by new coach Declan Kidney for Saturday's Test against Canada.
Earls has played at both full-back and centre for his club side so far this season and evidence of his form can be found in a record of four tries scored in six competitive outings.
He slots in at full-back against Canada in a backline that includes other young talents in Luke Fitzgerald, Tommy Bowe and Rob Kearney.
And the Limerick man is delighted by the prospect of making his first senior international appearance in a stadium that lies just a few minutes from his front door
"It's an absolute dream come true to get my first cap for my country at a ground where I grew up," Earls said.
"And it's only a couple of minutes from my own house, so it's just that extra bit special.
"There will be a lot of demand for tickets in the next few days!"
Kidney said he had no qualms about handing Earls his first cap, insisting the former under-20 international's season so far warranted a shot at a jersey.
"Keith's trained very well since he has come in with us. We watched him playing the games (for Munster) and I know what he is capable of," the former Munster boss said.
"We are going into a series of games now and the way he has trained I believe he deserves his chance in there.
"That's how I see it really. I fully understand why provinces pick different players at different times.
"They are doing their job as well too it's just...it's what it is now, he deserves his go and he is getting his on Saturday."
Kidney said there had been 'a big temptation' to fit the experienced Girvan Dempsey into the backline, but added it was important to see how the newer players fare.
"You have a number of guys who have been showing well at full-back over a period of time and what we are trying to do is build a panel," he added.
"Sometimes building a panel means you don't always get to play guys in their favoured position or even their best positions.
"It's just a case of getting guys out on the pitch. I think it's fair to say that all of those temptations were there but I'm looking forward to seeing how these guys go on Saturday.
"It's all about getting opportunities and seizing them to the best of their ability."