Rugby World Cup 2011: Earls wants to be Cup superstar

Keith Earls is tackled by Mike Petri
Keith Earls is tackled by Mike Petri in Sunday's World Cup clash in New Plymouth

Keith Earls has travelled to New Zealand with the ambition of becoming a "superstar" of the World Cup.

Earls and his Ireland colleagues struggled to beat the USA 22-10 in Sunday's Cup opener but the Munster player's confidence remains high.

"I want to do well and perform on the world stage. I want to be a superstar of the World Cup," said Earls.

"I've struggled for confidence in the past, but I really want to light this tournament up."

Earls started at wing in Sunday's win over the USA and he could be under pressure to hold on to his starting place for Saturday's game against Australia with Andrew Trimble hoping to earn a recall.

However, Earls insists that he is enjoying his World Cup experience.

"It's incredible being at the World Cup," said the 23-year-old, who won his 22nd cap in Sunday's game.

"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.

"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."

Like Ireland's team manager Paul McNaughton, Earls believes that the Irish are capable of beating Australia in Saturday's Pool C clash.

"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," he said.

"(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."