New academy manager Pete Buxton the right man to extend Kingsholm traditions, says Nigel Davies
NEW academy manager Pete Buxton is the perfect man to uphold Gloucester’s rich history and tradition, believes rugby director Nigel Davies.
Confirming Buxton’s appointment to replace Andrew Stanley as senior academy manager, Gloucester boss Davies backed the 34-year-old to prove a fitting mentor for Kingsholm’s stars of tomorrow.
Back-rower Buxton signed a two-year Bristol deal in the summer, leaving Gloucester after 11 seasons.
But two months into pre-season at the Memorial Stadium, the Cheltenham-born loose-forward retired yesterday.
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Buxton admitted 16 years of professional rugby had battered his body to the point where he did not feel he could do justice to his new Bristol venture.
When Gloucester offered him the chance to launch his craved coaching career, he admitted he needed little persuasion.
Former Kingsholm openside Stanley has stepped up to the forwards coach role, vacated by Worcester-bound Carl Hogg at the end of last term.
Now Buxton will fill Stanley’s academy shoes, with former Wales centre Davies rating continuity as vital.
Davies explained: “I’m thrilled that Bucko has joined our staff in helping to develop and maintain the fine work of our academy.
“We know the importance of working with people that understand the traditions and ethos of the club.
“After 11 years at Kingsholm I’m not sure that anyone is better able to understand and communicate this.
“The example that he set on and off the pitch is something that will rub off on the young talent that we have coming through.
“Last season he worked closely with the junior academy sides and developed his coaching skills.
“We hope that he will continue to develop as a coach, to develop our players and maintain the production line of talent.”
Buxton racked up 273 Gloucester appearances in his 11-year Kingsholm stint, after first coming to prominence with Newport.
After joining Andy Robinson’s Bristol revolution, Buxton admitted doubts quickly arose about his ability to prolong his playing career.
And when the Gloucester coaching opportunity arose, the lure of Kingsholm was too great to ignore.
Thanking Robinson and Bristol for their sympathetic approach, Buxton said: “As someone who was lucky enough to grow up in the local area and then play 11 seasons at Gloucester, I am passionate about the club and the development of its young talent.
“Gloucester has always been a special place for me and I think the progress of the club under Nigel Davies has been fantastic.
“To continue to be part of that set-up is an exciting prospect for me.
"I would like to thank Bristol and in particular Andy Robinson for understanding my reasons for retiring.
“In the two months I was with the club I was impressed by the ambition, work ethic and professionalism.
"I was keen to be part of that challenge, and felt when I joined that I had plenty of rugby ahead of me.
“However during pre-season I realised that my body is not quite where I hoped it would be.
“When I started to doubt myself and ask questions about my ability at the highest level, I knew it was time to call it a day.
"While not wanting to let down the Bristol supporters, I did not think I could perform at the level I have in the past and is expected by the club, I've have decided to focus on my long-term future and what will come next for me and my family."