Six Nations

Munster duo Earls and Murray pen new IRFU contracts

Munster have been handed a double boost after Keith Earls and Conor Murray agreed new deals with the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU).

Versatile back Earls has made 46 appearances for Ireland since his debut in November 2008 and toured with the British and Irish Lions to South Africa in 2009, although he did not appear in a Test match.

Earls, who has risen through the ranks at Munster, had been linked with a move to Premiership champions Saracens in recent weeks.

However, the 28-year-old has penned a deal with the IRFU through to the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

"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," Earls told the IRFU's official website.

Scrum-half Murray also came through the Munster Academy and made his first-team debut against Connacht in April 2010.

Murray's Ireland bow came the following year and he has represented his country on 42 occasions, while he also played for the Lions in the 2013 tour of Australia.

The 26-year-old has also agreed to stay until after the 2019 World Cup.

"I am delighted to sign a new IRFU contract to continue playing my rugby with Munster," Murray said.

"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."

Earls and Murray are part of Joe Schmidt's squad for the upcoming Six Nations, with Ireland starting the defence of their title at home to Wales on February 7.