United Rugby Championship: Andrew Trimble backs Ulster’s backline trio to shine against the Stormers

Date published: June 9 2022 - David Skippers

Ulster backline trio Stuart McCloskey, James Hume and Billy Burns hold the key to breaching the Stormers defence in Saturday’s United Rugby Championship semi-final in Cape Town.

That is the word from former Ulster and Ireland wing Andrew Trimble, who has been impressed with McCloskey’s and Hume’s play as a centre combination, while Burns has come on in leaps and bounds since he joined the Irish province in 2018.

Exciting midfield duo

McCloskey and Hume have complemented each other well throughout the season and Trimble is looking forward to seeing them in action against a talented Stormers backline.

“They have a really nice understanding, they both play to their strengths and complement each other really well,” Trimble told the Irish Independent.

“Stuart is so consistently good and often he’s the best player in the team.

“And that’s week in and week out.”

He knows McCloskey well as he played with the inside centre before he retired 2018 and although Hume made his Ulster debut later that year, the 23-year-old has caught Trimble’s eye with some excellent performances.

“James just backs himself,” he added.

“You can tell by the way he walks and runs, and his body language is always confident.

“And he always backs that confidence up.

“The two of them are just a great combo and as long as they are playing, that midfield fires, and then guys like Robert Baloucoune and Ethan McIlroy are going to find space.”

Meanwhile, Burns’ consistency is something which has impressed Ulster backline coach Dan Soper.

“You just have to look at how much Bill has played, and he is so integral to what we do,” he said. “When we’re going well, he’s generally on top of things. He has a huge amount of input into what we’re trying to do, the players have a lot of trust in him.

“We’ve got some nice combinations there, and they work well together.”

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