Munster and Ireland lock in two senior players

Getty Images and James Mortimer     21 Jan 2014     Getty Images

Earlier in the week it was announced that Ireland captain Paul O'Connell signed a new two-year contract which will see him lineup alongside Earls.

Commenting on his two-year deal, Keith said: "I am delighted to sign a new IRFU contract and to continue representing my province.

"This Munster team has shown it has what it takes to compete with the best in Europe and I look forward to playing my role in bringing further success to both Munster and Ireland."

Earls made his senior debut for Munster against the Ospreys in April 2007. The Munster Rugby Academy graduate has made 91 appearances for Munster to date, scoring 26 tries.

He made his Ireland debut in the 55-0 win over Canada in Thomond Park in November 2008.

The 26-year-old has won 39 caps for Ireland scoring 12 tries. Earls was Ireland's top try scorer at the 2011 Rugby World Cup tries and he toured with the Lions in 2009.

The versatile back's last appearance for Ireland was in the final game of last year's Six Nations against Italy.

IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne said: "Keith is a proven finisher and has shown guile and determination throughout his rugby career for both Munster and Ireland.

"We wish him a speedy recovery from his recent injury and look forward to seeing Keith play for Munster and Ireland over the next two years."

Munster head coach Rob Penney added: "We are delighted that Keith has signed a new IRFU contract which will see him remain a Munster player until the end of the 2016 season.

"Keith is an exciting player whose speed and acceleration can cause havoc for opposition defences. As a senior member of the squad, he will play a huge role in the future success of the province."

Paul O'Connell said: "I am delighted to sign a new IRFU contract and to continue playing with Munster for the next two seasons.

"Over the years I have been privileged to play in many fantastic Munster sides and as we build for the future, I am excited by the prospect of playing my part in achieving success with Munster and Ireland in the coming seasons."

Paul made his senior debut for Munster against Edinburgh in August 2001 and has since made 154 appearances for Munster, scoring 19 tries. He made his Ireland debut in the 54-10 Six Nations win over Wales in February 2002.

The 34-year-old lock has won 88 caps for Ireland and was named as captain of the national team during the 2013 GUINNESS Series. His last appearance for Ireland was in the 22-20 loss to New Zealand in November.

O'Connell has toured three times with the British & Irish Lions (2005, 2009 and 2013), captaining the tourists on the 2009 tour of South Africa and playing in the first two Tests of the successful 2013 tour of Australia.

He captained Munster to Heineken Cup success in 2008 and to two league titles (2009 and 2011).