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Burns leaves Gloucester Rugby to join Ulster

Burns leaves Gloucester Rugby to join Ulster

Gloucester Rugby fly-half Billy Burns has been released from the final year of his contract to join Pro 14 side Ulster Rugby with immediate effect, the club has confirmed.

Burns, who turned 24 last month, is a product of the Gloucester Rugby Academy and made his senior debut for the club in the 2011-12 season. His 100th competitive appearance came in the European Rugby Challenge Cup Final against Cardiff Blues in Bilbao in May.

Predominantly a fly-half, he’s also turned out at full-back from time to time and is an accomplished goal-kicker having scored over 300 points in total for the club.

However, despite being capped by England at U18 and U20 level, he approached the Club in recent days to ask to be released from his contract to join Ulster Rugby and pursue his international ambitions with Ireland, a move Gloucester Rugby have agreed to.

Gloucester’s Director of Rugby David Humphreys said: “Billy has played a central part in what we’ve been trying to achieve at Gloucester Rugby over the past few seasons. He’s developed through the Academy, into a top quality Premiership fly half who has never given anything less than his absolute best every time he’s played.

“However, he asked to be released from the final year of his contract with the Club to join Ulster and make himself available for selection for Ireland and a place in the 2019 Rugby World Cup squad.

“With that in mind, and with international calibre fly-halves in Danny Cipriani and Owen Williams in the squad this season, we didn’t want to stand in his way and granted Billy’s request.

“While we are disappointed to see Billy leave Gloucester Rugby, he is joining another great Club and we all wish him well in the future.”

And Burns himself confirmed that it had been a difficult decision to leave Gloucester Rugby, the only club he has known to date.

“It’s all happened very quickly and I’ve had a lot to consider in a very short space of time,” he said. “I’ve always been very happy at Gloucester Rugby and hadn’t even considered leaving to be honest.

“But the interest was there from Ulster and, of course, a chance to pursue my ambitions of playing international rugby. To play at the highest level of the game is something any player wants to do.

“I’m grateful to Gloucester Rugby for agreeing to allow me to move to Ulster. It’s been an amazing ride – highs and lows – but I’ve loved every minute. I’ve made friends for life, too many to mention, but more than anything I’ll miss the supporters and playing at Kingsholm.

“I’ll be back at some point to say goodbye and thank everyone. But for now, it’s an exciting new chapter, one I’m looking forward to.”

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