Ulster sign fly-half Burns after Gloucester exit
Ulster have signed Ireland-qualified fly-half Billy Burns from Premiership side Gloucester.
The 24-year-old joins on a two-year deal having made his senior debut in 2012.
Burns represented England at Under-18 and Under-20 level and scored 304 points in 101 appearances for the Cherry and Whites.
The Irish province have been in the market for a fly-half since the departure of Paddy Jackson.
England international Danny Cipriani signed for Gloucester in May leading to speculation over Burns’ future at the Kingsholm club.
Burns, who made 24 starts last season, qualifies for Ireland via a paternal grandparent.
“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 told Ulster’s website.
“The Ulster squad is brimming with established and developing talent, and it will be exciting for me to challenge myself in a different environment.”
Ulster have been linked with several fly-halves since regular 10 Jackson had his contract revoked after being cleared of rape.
Ireland’s Joey Carbery was linked with a move north from Leinster but instead opted to to sign for Munster.
A move to bring South African Elton Jantjies to the Kingspan Stadium was blocked by the IRFU as he was not an Irish qualified player.
At the end of a turbulent season, Johnny McPhillips was the only recognised out-half at the province.
“Billy has an impressive range of skills and has gained a considerable amount of experience for an out-half of his age,” said operations director Bryn Cunningham.
“Importantly, being Irish-qualified, we have no doubt that Billy has the potential to represent Ireland in the near future.”
Ulster will play in Europe’s top tier next season, having defeated Ospreys in a play-off.