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six nations Keith Earls signs one-year IRFU contract as Jacob Stockdale returns for Ireland

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Keith Earls has signed a one-year IRFU deal. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Keith Earls has signed a one-year IRFU deal. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Keith Earls has signed a one-year IRFU deal. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Keith Earls has become the latest Ireland international to pen a new central contract.

The deal will keep Earls, who has won 91 international caps and made 177 Munster appearances, with the Guinness PRO14 finalists until 2022.

The 33-year-old is second behind Brian O’Driscoll on Ireland’s list of all-time try scorers and started the games against Wales and France in the current Six Nations campaign before touching down from the bench in Italy.

Earls told the Munster website: “I want to play a role for Munster this season and next, and I am as passionate as ever about pulling on the green jersey and being successful with Ireland.”

Meanwhile, Jacob Stockdale has returned to the Ireland squad for Sunday’s Guinness Six Nations clash with Scotland.

The 24-year-old winger missed the opening three rounds of the championship after damaging his knee playing for Ulster against Munster on January 2.

“Ulster’s Jacob Stockdale returns to the squad having missed the opening three rounds through injury while Shane Daly will remain at Munster,” the Irish Rugby Football Union announced.

“The 36-man squad will travel to Edinburgh on Friday ahead of playing Scotland on Sunday at BT Murrayfield.

“Josh van der Flier will go through the graduated return-to-play protocols this week in Ireland camp while there were no significant injury concerns from the other 12 players who featured in the Guinness PRO14 fixtures over the weekend.”

Stockdale returned to action in Ulster’s PRO14 victory over Ospreys on February 26.

The 33-times capped speedster built up his fitness further in the 38-19 home defeat to Leinster on Saturday.

Ireland lost their opening two Six Nations matches, against Wales and France, for the first time before beating Italy 48-10 in Rome.

Ireland squad

Backs – B Aki (Connacht), B Burns (Ulster), R Byrne (Leinster), C Casey (Munster), A Conway (Munster), K Earls (Munster), C Farrell (Munster), J Gibson-Park (Leinster), R Henshaw (Leinster), H Keenan (Leinster), J Larmour (Leinster), J Lowe (Leinster), S McCloskey (Ulster), C Murray (Munster), G Ringrose (Leinster), J Sexton (Leinster), J Stockdale (Ulster).

Forwards – R Baird (Leinster), T Beirne (Munster), E Byrne (Leinster), J Conan (Leinster), W Connors (Leinster), U Dillane (Connacht), T Furlong (Leinster), C Healy (Leinster), D Heffernan (Connacht), I Henderson (Ulster), R Herring (Ulster), R Kelleher (Leinster), D Kilcoyne (Munster), T O’Toole (Ulster), A Porter (Leinster), J Ryan (Leinster), R Ruddock (Leinster), CJ Stander (Munster), J Van Der Flier (Leinster).

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