Date of birth 5 September 1996. Country Ireland

How did you get into rugby?
My uncle Maurice McBurney was the only one of my family that played, so my interest came through him. I joined Randalstown rugby club when I was about eight and stayed right through the age grades.

Did you play other sports growing up?
Not really. I started with football but it wasn’t for me.

Have you played in other positions?
I played in the back row for a long time, then started playing hooker at Ulster and stayed there.

Who had a big influence on your career?
The whole club at Randalstown, especially Greg McPherson and Nigel Gilbert.

When did you link up with Ulster?
I joined the U18s a year young after they spotted me at Randalstown. I got into the Ireland U18 Clubs squad in my second year at Ulster and then went up to Ireland U20.

What was the U20 World Cup like?
Getting to the final was great but it was disappointing to lose. If you had told us when we were 17 points behind against Wales that we were going to get to the final we would have taken it with both hands! That fightback against Wales (to win 26-25) and beating New Zealand is something I will never forget.

What are your aims this season?
Mainly to put on a bit of size. I’m playing for Ballymena in the All-Ireland League but I need more muscle mass for the pro game.

RW verdict: One of the stars for Ireland U20 last season, the 6ft-tall McBurney is aiming to bulk up from his current 15st 10lb so he can transfer his talents to Ulster’s Guinness Pro12 team. A young talent to look out for.

First published in the December 2016 edition of Rugby World magazine.