Billy Burns is on a mission with Ulster

Ulster outhalf Billy Burns during his competitive debut against Scarlets last weekend
Ulster outhalf Billy Burns during his competitive debut against Scarlets last weekend

Billy Burns enjoyed his first experience of Kingspan Stadium as Ulster beat Scarlets on the opening weekend of the Guinness PRO14 season last Saturday.

The out half signed from Gloucester played the full 80 minutes against last season’s runners up and had his family cheering him on from the stands.

“I loved it, I’d heard a lot about playing here obviously I’ve never played here but my older brother played here,” said Burns.

“The atmosphere in the crowd has been awesome and has been since I got here, it was nice to get that first one under my belt and I was glad we could get the win for those who showed up for us.”

“I knew I was coming to a great club with a great history but I probably didn’t expect it to be quite as good as it has been,

“The facilities and the support are second to none, I’ve come from Gloucester which has a similar fan base and it’s awesome to come over here and I feel at home already.

“My mum and dad and two of my brothers were over, one of them couldn’t make it, but it was really nice to have them over.

“They loved the experience and I think it was a proud day for the family to see me coming over here and playing for one of the provinces of Ireland and at a great club like Ulster, it certainly made my old man proud so it was a good day all round.”

Burns is adapting well to life in Belfast.

“I probably didn’t expect to settle in as quickly as I have done, the coaches, the management, the support staff and the players they’ve all been great.

“It’s been a real awesome challenge for me coming over here to sort of try and prove myself again and it’s definitely a challenge I’ve enjoyed so far.

“Settling in has been really easy and obviously has helped when you win your first game because I probably wouldn’t be sat here in as good a mood as I’m in now.

“The good thing for me as well is I can see the ambition of the coaches and the players and that’s something that really excites me.

“I think that last Saturday was just a glimpse of what we’re hoping to achieve, which has a similar fan base and it’s awesome to come over here and I feel at home already.”

Burns is hoping they can make it two wins out of two as they face Edinburgh at home tomorrow night.

“I’ve watched a bit of footage on Edinburgh over the last couple of days and we’re expecting a massive test again.

“We’re expecting something different than Scarlets. Edinburgh are a very well coached team with Richard Cockerill there and they’ve got some great players.”

“We know we’re going to have to be a lot better than we were last Saturday but we’re massively excited to get back out there and hopefully get a massive result.”

John Cooney landed five penalties from seven against the Scarlets including one in the last minute to win the game and although Burns would like the kicking duties he’s happy to let his half back partner take the responsibility for the time being.

“I love goal-kicking and I feel it’s a big part of my game but I also understand John’s been an outstanding kicker over the past year here and I’ll have to be patient and wait my turn.”

For me it’s all about I’m still practising hard to be the goal-kicker and until I get that opportunity it doesn’t matter who kicks them as long as they go over.

“It does take a little bit of pressure off (me) but it’s the sort of pressure I enjoy as a kicker. I’ve definitely missed it but hopefully I’ll get an opportunity at some stage.”

somewhere down the road.”