Billy Burns determined to build on promising season with Ulster

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Billy Burns is determined to excel in his second season with Ulster.

The out-half, signed from Gloucester, made 24 appearances and scored 49 points in his first year at Kingspan Stadium and admits he learned a lot from getting regular first team rugby.

“It is probably too long a list to sit here and talk about,” he said.

“I think for me I have always been a player who likes to play with the ball in hand and it comes with experience and playing in big games I guess.

“Obviously I have learned a lot from the coaches and other players and I still feel there is plenty of growth for me in that area, but also I realise how big a 10’s influence on a game is and how if you are given that 10 jersey it is your job to run the attacking side of things especially,” he added.

“That is something again I can carry on learning going forward, but as a whole I was pretty happy with how it went last year, but I know there is room for growth and there are a number of things I am going to work on this season to become the more complete player.”

Ulster reached the Pro14 semi-final last season but lost 50-20 to Glasgow and they face the Scottish side on Saturday afternoon (1.30pm) at Kingspan Stadium in a pre-season friendly.

“It was tough, very tough,” Burns said. “It feels like an age ago but we felt like we went out there with a good plan and probably opened up some cracks in the way we played.

“I think Glasgow have been one of those sides over the last few years who have become a really, really strong side.

“There were a lot of sort of young guys in that first semi-final up there and it is either one of those where you either learn or you just park it.

“I think for us we definitely have learnt from it and it is a great opportunity for us again. I am sure it will be a very different team from what we played up there this weekend, but it is still a good chance for us to see where we are.”

Burns is intrigued to gauge how much progress Ulster have made since that semi-final defeat when they come up against Glasgow again.

“I think we will find out how much we have improved on Saturday, it is so tough to make a gauge on how you did in pre-season, but I think the great thing last year was we saw progression as we went on,” he said.

“Ultimately we have now had a block of 12 weeks where we have had time to really focus on what we are trying to achieve.”