Honoured Peter Buxton on his return to Kingsholm
HONOURED Pete Buxton has pledged to leave Gloucester's stars of tomorrow in no doubt how many sacrifices it takes to wear Cherry and White.
Gloucester's new senior academy manager is relishing his rapid Kingsholm return, just two months after joining Bristol on a two-year playing deal.
The 34-year-old has officially retired after 16 years as an uncompromising loose-forward, 11 spent at Kingsholm.
Buxton's gritty style has taken its toll to the extent where he felt his body was letting him down in pre-season training at Bristol.
And when the Gloucester academy job hit his radar, he felt compelled for a Kingsholm return.
Buxton helped coach Gloucester's Under-18s last season, and the Under-15s the year before, allied to stints with Cheltenham RFC and Cheltenham Saracens.
The veteran of 273 Gloucester appearances already holds his RFU Level Three course – top-level rugby's industry standard – and will now aim for Level Four.
Confident coaching can rival his lifelong passion of playing, Buxton explained: "I've learned my trade a little over the last two years, but this opportunity is a massive honour.
"To work with the local clubs and schools in the area where I learned rugby is huge.
"I know what a big deal it is to play for Gloucester, I always wanted to play for this club.
"And I know how hard it is, how much you have to commit and sacrifice to achieve that goal.
"That's something I'm pretty aware of, and so are all the boys who make it and play for Gloucester too.
"That's something I can pass on, but the other side is that I know how great a privilege it is to play for the club and what a massive honour it is.
"I enjoyed that privilege for a long time, and the guys I'll hopefully help move on and up will be able to do the same.
"I get a lot out of coaching now and it's something that I've started to enjoy as much if not more than playing.
"And that's one of the major reasons why I've made this choice, because it excites me but also because I find it extremely rewarding."
Keen to continue his coaching role at Cheltenham RFC, Buxton will draw on the experience of new forwards coach Stanley, and assistant academy manager Simon Lane.
Reluctant to retire from playing duties, Buxton conceded he could not conscience submitting below-par performances at Bristol.
He continued: "I'm extremely proud and Gloucester's something I just couldn't really turn down in the end.
"I'm sure I'll be leaning on Stan a little bit!
"Stan is an excellent coach and so is Simon Lane, so I know I'm going into a very strong set-up, which will be a huge help to me.
"Being a rugby player is one of the best jobs around, being able to get out there every day, and it's something I've loved for a long time now.
"I've enjoyed every moment.
"I've always tried to play with 100 per cent commitment, I've demanded that from myself, and almost demanded the same from those around me.
"But in the last month and a half of training I found I was questioning myself on that a little bit.
"And then the job opportunity came up as well, so I started to question that a little further.
"Once that happened I was starting to be honest with myself.
"And the decision I came to was that the best thing for me was probably to stop playing.
"This is the sort of job I've potentially been working towards for the last two years.
"It's just come up at this moment, and in the right place.
"Gloucester has been a big part of my life for a long time, and I'm really thankful that it can still be now, in a slightly different way.
"I've been really impressed with what they are doing at Bristol.
"Andy Robinson's trying to build a family feel to the club and I'm sure they will be successful.
"I've got no doubt that they'll be very successful in the Championship this year and that they will be back in the Premiership the year after.
"Once they realised that I wanted to retire and stop playing, they understood where I was coming from.
"I explained what an opportunity this is too, and why it's important to me because of where it is as well.
"And that was something they understood, so full credit to them allowing me to move on to the next chapter in my life.
"I've nothing but respect and thanks to them for this."