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Billy Burns focused on keeping Ulster No10 jersey before thinking about Ireland

By Josh Raisey
Billy Burns of Ireland is tackled by Gareth Davies of Wales during the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Wales and Ireland at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo By Gareth Everett/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ulster No10 Billy Burns is not getting carried away with talk of a return to the Ireland set-up ahead of the Six Nations and is instead remaining focused on staving off any competition he has for his jersey at Ulster.

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With an enormous Johnny Sexton shaped hole left in Andy Farrell’s Ireland team heading into their title defence next month, Burns made the perfect statement on Monday with a player of the match against Sexton’s former side and United Rugby Championship leaders Leinster.

There is plenty of competition for the green No10 shirt heading into the Six Nations, but Burns feels he has enough on his plate at Ulster competing with 24-year-old Jake Flannery. Nevertheless, Burns’ performance in Ulster’s 22-21 win at the RDS Arena threw him straight back into Ireland contention.

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Speaking to Off The Ball after the match, the 29-year-old expressed his desire to add to his seven Ireland caps, and said that watching the World Cup only inspired him to fight his way back into Farrell’s reckoning.

“I’d love to,” Burns said when asked about playing for Ireland again.

“Of course it’s any person’s dream to play. Watching the World Cup only gave me more incentive to try and get back there, but I’m going to be boring, it’s the same old- one good performance doesn’t give me the right to be talking about that yet.

“I need to keep backing it up, keep working hard. I’m really enjoying playing with this group of boys and I’m enjoying the process of us getting better. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing- it’s tough enough keeping the No10 jersey at Ulster at the moment, Jake Flannery’s putting huge pressure on and he’s playing incredibly well. I’ll keeping doing my stuff here, keeping working on my game- I know I’ve got plenty of areas to work on.”

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