As he nears the end of his second season as a fully-fledged member of the Ulster Rugby squad, Stewart Moore remains an ever-willing student.
The former Irish Under-20s centre made his debut for Dan McFarland’s side back at Christmas 2019 and played again in the final game before lockdown.
The start of this campaign, however, saw him nail down a regular spot. He started the first eight games before, with the return of Stuart McCloskey from injury, finding himself out of the run-on side until his two-try salvo against Dragons last weekend.
“When I was playing week in and week out, I got myself into a good routine of taking the learnings from the previous week and bringing them into the next week,” said Moore.
“The break kind of stopped that and I hit the reset button a bit, but it’s still learning from whatever you can.
“Anything that is spoken about in the team meetings, I’ll be taking a note and have that all down and then would go through it during the week and look at where I can learn better and improve on the field.
“I have it all written in there and if I ever need to go back to it I can do that.
“It’s sort of become a running joke, me carrying the book everywhere and like a wee pencil case.”
If it was McCloskey’s return from injury that largely kept him on the sidelines through most of the winter, McFarland’s decision to pair the two together in Cardiff paid dividends, no more so than for Moore’s first try created by an offload from his fellow centre.
“It’s class,” said the Ballymoney native of playing alongside the Irish international.
“I played with him in pre-season (friendly) a couple of years ago when I was younger and probably a bit more quiet.
“But just because I have been training with him the last three years, I can soak up stuff from him. For example, that offload, I could tell he was going for it so I was able to run that line.
“You know a lot of people say Stu is just a ball-carrier but I learn a lot of things off him.
“As much as he is the Bangor Bulldozer, he can pass as well, and it is nice to be outside him.
“Running lines and off the ball you could see at the weekend he was the busiest man on the pitch, and it is just nice to learn by watching as well, not even necessarily chatting to him.”
Meanwhile, Ulster hooker Adam McBurney will depart for Edinburgh at the end of this season.
The former Irish Under-20 ace once seemed primed to nail down the back-up role to Rob Herring this season, but he instead fell behind the in-form John Andrew and has made just one start this campaign.
Scottish-qualified through a grandparent, McBurney hopes that working under a former hooker as his head coach in Richard Cockerill will bring on his game.
“Richard Cockerill was a world-class player and is a world-class coach,” he said.
“I still have a lot of learning in me. I hope to benefit from his experiences to bring the best out of me as a hooker.
“I’ve been in the same rugby environment since I was a kid and hope this change will challenge my ability to adapt, along with picking the brains of new coaches and players to develop my skills.
“I’d like to thank Ulster for everything they’ve done to help me progress to where I’m at today.”