Buxton ready to embrace change under Nigel Davies at Gloucester
A FRESH start can reinvigorate Gloucester's old guard as the young guns muscle in on centre stage, believes Pete Buxton.
The gritty back-rower believes the Cherry and Whites' coaching overhaul will breathe new life into a host of experienced Kingsholm campaigners – and get the best out of a senior player nucleus.
Alex Brown and Nick Wood will celebrate testimonials this season, just as Buxton completes his.
With James Simpson-Daniel and Andy Hazell already having celebrated their decade's service testimonial years too, Buxton believes the wealth of experience could be telling this season.
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A rush of young talent is flooding the Gloucester squad, and Buxton expects the likes of Jonny May, and emerging men like Ryan Mills and Dan Robson to have a big impact in the new campaign.
Backing new rugby director Nigel Davies to get the best out of those young stars, Buxton believes the former Scarlets boss will also take Kingsholm's elder statesmen to new levels too.
The former Newport flanker is keen for stability after a close-season of upheaval that started with Bryan Redpath's departure but was punctuated more deeply with the untimely death of John Brain.
The 33-year-old loose forward explained: "It's great that everything is sorted with Nigel Davies.
"That means we can move on as a club and start planning for the season.
"A new director of rugby will bring in fresh ideas and a new approach, and I think for some of the guys that have been at the club for a long time, I think that is just what we need now.
"It's a fresh start and a different approach will help us move forward, I think.
"A new boss will keep us on our toes and definitely add a bit of bite to pre-season, because we've got to prove ourselves there.
"There's a strong core of players who have been at this club for a long time, who know what the club is all about and understand the history and tradition.
"But it is a great time for a change, and I think Nigel's arrival, with new ideas and plans, I think that will really benefit the guys who have been a while.
"It will give us a fresh perspective and allow us to approach things from a different angle."
Gloucester's pre-season officially starts on Monday, June 25, with the new head of strength and conditioning Paddy Anson lining up some unorthodox training methods.
The former Royal Marine will put the squad through their swimming paces among other sessions, and Buxton expects a testing but worthwhile time ahead.
He continued: "Paddy coming too will have a big effect, it will take players out of their comfort zones and demand different things from them, and I think that will have a positive effect.
"The swimming's going to be interesting – I've only got one stroke and that's doggy paddle!
"But in all seriousness, it's that kind of new approach that will keep us all on our toes and push us to new levels.
"It's exciting times ahead and everyone is looking forward to getting stuck in now, to be honest."
â A ladies night and a sporting dinner will close out Pete Buxton's Celebration Year.
The Gloucester stalwart's testimonial campaign is expected to end on a high note, with the Hatherley Manor ladies night kicking off the double header on Friday, June 29.
A champagne reception will be followed by a three-course meal served by Gloucester Rugby players.
The suggested donation for the ladies night is £45.
Rugby will meet cricket in the sporting dinner, to be held at Frocester Cricket Club on Wednesday, July 4.
World Cup-winning former Gloucester prop Phil Vickery will headline the guest speakers, with comedian Roger Dakin taking up the master of ceremonies role.
For more information or to book tickets for either event, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Pete Glanville on 07774 997399 or Cathryn Hage on 07768 410097.