Ulster have signed Irish qualified out half Billy Burns on a two year deal from English Premiership side Gloucester.
Burns, who is 24, made over 100 appearances for Gloucester since making his debut when he was just 17 years of age. Burns played 29 times last season, with 24 of those starting and 5 as a substitute. Billy is the younger brother of former England senior player Freddie, he has played for England himself but only at U20 level playing 8 times. Speaking about the move to his new club, Burns said ”This is a great opportunity for me to take the next step in my career and I’m very grateful to Gloucester for supporting me in this decision”. He went on to say he wants to challenge himself and that he is looking forward to meeting up with the squad next week for pre season training, he said ”The Ulster squad is brimming with established and developing talent, and it will be exciting for me to challenge myself in a different environment.” “I’m really looking forward to linking up with the squad next week and getting stuck into pre-season training. Hopefully I can show the Ulster supporters what I’m all about and contribute to the team in what is a hugely important season.”
Ulster Operations Director Bryan Cunningham speaking about the new signing expressed his delighted in signing Burns, he said ”We are delighted that Billy has signed for us for the next two seasons”. He said it was vital that the club had another 10 despite the development of Johnny McPhilips and Michael Lowry. He said ”Johnny McPhillips has developed brilliantly and Michael Lowry has shown that he’s a serious talent, but it was critical that we had another recognised 10 with a good level of experience, otherwise we simply would’ve been short of numbers in that area. The addition of Billy now gives us an exciting array of young talent to call upon in the coming years”.
He went on further to say that Billy has the potential to represent Ireland, also stating that the out half has an array of skills and considerable experience. Ulster have been down an out half since the departure of Paddy Jackson, however, they can now look forward with Burns set to be given plenty of game time at the club given his credentials in the English Premiership.