Munster line up move for Ulster outhalf Billy Burns

Joey Carbery’s move to France next season leaves Munster’s outhalf stocks bare

Billy Burns is being lined up by Munster as a potential signing for next season in the light of Joey Carbery’s decision to move on from the province next summer and join Bordeaux Bègles.

The 29-year-old Burns is not having his contract renewed by Ulster and The Irish Times understands that the outhalf and Munster have undertaken negotiations with a view to him relocating south, which looks likely.

As he is Irish qualified, Burns would have additional appeal to Munster, who a few years ago had something of a logjam at ‘10′, so much so that the former Munster academy and Irish Under-20 outhalf Jake Flannery moved to Ulster in the summer of 2022.

But having previously released JJ Hanrahan, Munster then also lost Ben Healy to Edinburgh at the end of last season after he decided that this was a better route to Test rugby than in Ireland, before news recently of Carbery following suit to France. This left Munster in need of back-up to Jack Crowley, who is liable to be away on Irish duty more often.


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Burns is in his sixth season as Ulster’s first-choice outhalf, having joined them in July 2018 following the retirement of Ian Humphreys, the termination of Paddy Jackson’s contract and the conclusion of Christian Lealiifano’s loan deal.

Ulster were prevented from acquiring the now banned Elton Jantjies by the IRFU, and instead signed Burns, who is Irish-qualified by virtue of his paternal grandfather, Tommy, who was born in Dublin. Burns made his Irish debut in a victory against Wales in the 2020 Autumn Nations Cup and won the last of his seven caps in the win over Japan in July 2021.

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Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley is Rugby Correspondent of The Irish Times