Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby Ulster

Young Ulster ace Adam McBurney is out to impress Kiss

By Cian Tracey

Adam McBurney is one of only three players from last year's U20s squad to be included in the starting XV to play Wales in the Six Nations opener tonight (Donnybrook, 7pm) and the hooker knows that there is an extra responsibility on his shoulders.

The young Ulsterman will make up the front-row alongside Andrew Porter and Conan O'Donnell, both of whom also featured for Nigel Carolan's starlets last year, and he believes that the trio have learned since then.

"Definitely, there is a responsibility there," McBurney admitted.

"I have that experience from last year but this year we are in a place where it's not just those lads but lads playing with the 'A's and there are a couple of senior caps floating about whereas last year we didn't have that.

"I learned how difficult it was to go through the whole Six Nations phase. It is a lot different from just playing your average week in and week out club game. You aren't just training twice a week. This is the Six Nations, you are in camp all week.

"You are away from home and the games are harder on your body and you have to take care of your body and your recovery.

"France and England are massive. They have pace on top of that size as well. As the weeks go on you adapt to that a bit better but we ran out of fuel last year after the England game."

Jacob Stockdale, the fourth player with previous experience at this level who is part of Carolan's squad, isn't included tonightas he will instead be involved with Ulster in their PRO12 cash against Dragons.

Stockdale is a significant loss for a squad already short of experience but there are plenty of players like Shane Daly, Jimmy O'Brien, James Ryan and Max Deegan for supporters to be keeping a close eye on.

McBurney, who is currently in his second year of the Ulster sub-academy, is hoping to build on last year's experience and use the upcoming Six Nations as a springboard to sealing a professional contract.

"I'm sure Les (Ulster boss Kiss) will tune into the games," he said. "He tunes into all the AIL games (playing for Ballymena) so I'm sure he'll get the videos sent back to him if he doesn't get down to a couple of them.

"There is a lot of pressure but you have to deal with it and hopefully perform."

Ireland U20s squad (v Wales): J Power*; M Byrne*, S Daly*, J O'Brien*, H Keenan*; J McPhillips*, J Poland*; A Porter, A McBurney, C O'Donnell; P Claffey*, J Ryan (capt)*; C Gallagher*, W Connors*, M Deegan*. Reps: S Fenton*, J Bollard*, C Kenny*, S O'Connor*, K Brown*, S Keirns*, B Connon*, C O'Brien*. (* Denotes uncapped at this level).

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph