Gloucester Rugby: Buxton refreshed by the 'different mindset'
A DECADE of logical progression saw Gloucester evolve steadily under Nigel Melville, Dean Ryan and Bryan Redpath.
Nigel Davies has hardly brought about Kingsholm revolution – but Pete Buxton believes this summer's sweeping changes have done the Cherry and Whites the world of good.
Forget Redpath's end-of-season struggles last term, loose forward Buxton believes Gloucester needed a fresh start for far deeper-seated reasons.
After a ten-year sequence of building steadily, one existing coach stepping into the shoes of another, Gloucester broke that mould by appointing Davies as rugby director in the close season.
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Cheltenham-born Buxton believes it was the right call at the right time – and backed the Cherry and Whites to continue to reap the benefits.
Hailing former Llanelli Scarlets boss Davies, 34-year-old Buxton explained: "He's come in with a completely different mindset of doing things, and before that the coaches had all had similar approaches.
"If you think that Dean stepped up from Nigel Melville, then Bryan took things forward from Dean, there was always a logical progression in methods and styles.
"But now we have something totally fresh, and I think that's been one of the reasons why everyone feels so good about things.
"Nigel's new philosophies have been really interesting to get into and he's definitely pushing us forward, and pretty quickly too."
Nick Wood and Alex Brown swell Gloucester's growing testimonial men this term, a group already containing Buxton.
The former Newport back-rower said Gloucester's impressive list of long-serving stalwarts underlines the strength of the club's set-up – on and off the field.
Buxton had to wait for his first team chance this term but impressed in Sunday's 31-25 London Welsh victory.
Until then he had to be content with skippering Gloucester United in A League action – and he admitted the strength of that second-string is a big boost to the whole squad, especially those battling for first team spots.
He continued: "There's been some great performances in the A League from the youngsters and they are really pushing themselves forward.
"We've had a good run of games there and that has definitely helped us with the competition for places in the first team.
"It was great to play at the weekend. I've had to bide my time, but it was definitely worth the wait.
"Welsh make it very hard to play against them, and all credit to them for doing that.
"But we showed great character in the end to come out the right side of all of that.
"We've got a good group of guys who have been here a long time now, and that really helps the squad, definitely.
"It's a good club and a great place to play rugby, and the fact that people have been here for such a long time just indicates how much people want to be here.
"When you travel elsewhere and see other clubs, sometimes it really brings home just how fantastic our fans are and the set-up is here.
"Add in the group of guys we've got as a nucleus and it's just been a pleasure to be here for the last ten years."
Coaching Gloucester's Under-15s in the club's academy, Buxton also takes control of the forwards duties at his first club Cheltenham.
Relishing both roles, Buxton said he would love to see new faces at Cheltenham.
He added: "The academy stuff is a fantastic challenge and very rewarding when you see players making progress.
"It's a good challenge at Cheltenham as well. We could do with some more numbers to be honest.
"There's a core group of some very committed players who give everything they've got, and that's fantastic.
"I think we could do with a few new faces if possible but, that said, there's definitely enough talent to keep moving in the right direction."