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Rugby World Cup 2011
Earls desires superstar status
ESPNscrum Staff
September 12, 2011

Ireland starlet Keith Earls has revealed that he is determined to take the opportunity to achieve superstar status by lighting up the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

The versatile Munster back, who can play on the wing or in midfield, is considered one of the most exciting young players in the game. However, he has yet to truly shine in an Irish jersey, perhaps as a consequence of the fact that he has been repeatedly shifted around the back-line. Earls, though, is relishing the challenge of proving himself on the biggest stage of all.

"It's incredible being at the World Cup," he said. "I dreamt of it as a young lad and was watching it on TV only four years ago never thinking I'd be at the next one.

"The whole world is tuning in to watch you, so it's the sport's biggest stage. There are some nerves, but it's enjoyable as well.

"I want to do well and perform on the world stage. I want to be a superstar of the World Cup. I've struggled for confidence in the past, but I really want to light this tournament up.

"There's no better country for it to be in than New Zealand. The buzz around the place is incredible and there are a lot of Irish travelling around as well. It's good and is one of the best buzzes I've felt in a competition."

Certainly, Earls would go along way towards realising his dream if he were to inspire his country to victory in their crunch clash with Australia at Eden Park on Sunday. The Wallabies are one of the favourites for the title and that, coupled with Ireland's patchy form this year, means that Declan Kidney's side will go into the Pool C encounter as underdogs.

However, Earls feels that Ireland, who lost all four of their warm-up games before labouring to victory over the United States in their tournament opener on Sunday, their should not be underestimated.

"I don't look back at the past. This is the here and now. It's a different competition," he said. "We tried to win the warm-up games, but you don't win the World Cup in August. We produced a result against the USA and we can kick on from there.

"Australia are a step up from the USA, but we're not miles behind them. If we get our game right, we're capable of beating anyone.

"(Backs coach) Alan Gaffney said last week that this is the best he's seen us training since he took over. That's good to hear from him because he doesn't give out many compliments."

Earls is not a certain started against the Wallabies, though, given that he failed to sparkle against the Eagles and he could lose his place on the left wing to the in-form Andrew Trimble. However, Earls believes that if his services are retained by Kidney, he will turn in an improved display.

"I felt more confident on the wing against the USA. I wished I'd got more ball, I had to go looking for it at times," he said. "Playing centre helps me when I come in field. I know the running lines.

"I enjoyed it. I felt good, it didn't feel like I made any mistakes. When I got the ball I did well with it. When I get the ball I'm not trying to make the big play, I'm trying to relax and ease into the game. I'm trying to enjoy it."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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