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Pete Buxton keen to take Gloucester Rugby bow with play-off campaign

By The Citizen  |  Posted: February 12, 2013

  • MAGIC MOMENT: Buxton and Mark Cornwell lift the 2006 European Challenge Cup after a thrilling win over London Irish

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PETE Buxton admits it will be surreal to leave Gloucester after 11 seasons this summer – but the back-row stalwart wants to bow out in style.

The 34-year-old loose forward has agreed a deal to join Bristol next season – but still cannot quite believe this will be his final Kingsholm campaign.

The bruising flanker has set his sights on helping Gloucester to one more Premiership play-off battle before he swaps West Country rugby citadels.

Buxton felt the full force of Gloucester's agonising Premiership final defeats of 2003 and 2007 and the semi-final frustrations of 2008 and 2011.

Gloucester's 27-11 victory over Northampton Saints on Saturday resurrects the prospect of another top-four finish – and another play-off tilt.

And Buxton could think of no finer way to round off his Kingsholm tenure.

Buxton explained: "There's still a number of players at the club who would love nothing more than to claim that elusive title.

"There's a hell of a lot of work to do still but the big aim is to get back to the play-offs again.

"And clearly now this is my last chance at Gloucester.

"It was a massive win for us at Northampton, and it puts us right back in the mix after a frustrating home loss to London Irish.

"We go to Wasps on Sunday knowing victory will really put us in that play-off mix.

"And while there will be plenty of emotion for me further down the line about leaving at the end of the season, in the meantime the top four is the huge motivation."

Cheltenham-born Buxton shared the Gloucester captaincy with Marco Bortolami in the 2007-08 campaign after making the switch from Newport in 2002.

It was Nigel Melville who recruited Buxton – but every coach since has kept the loose forward in his plans.

The back-row revamp started by Bryan Redpath and continued by Nigel Davies has finally caught up with the indomitable grafter though.

Buxton boasts 270 Gloucester appearances since 2002 and currently stands four shy of 200 starts.

After celebrating his testimonial last year, Buxton would love to hit that landmark before moving on in the summer.

He explained: "It hasn't quite sunk in yet. It will feel odd when I drive out of the car park for the last time.

"Gloucester has been a huge part of my life.

"My time here has been fantastic, I'm so grateful for my time at Kingsholm.

"There are so many memories and I've made so many good friends.

"I'm really looking forward to joining Bristol, it's a really exciting move and a great new challenge.

"I feel like I have a lot of rugby left in me and I want to keep playing at a high level and pushing myself.

"But there's a lot for me to focus on ahead of that, and a lot I still want to achieve before now and the end of the season with Gloucester.

"I'm going to make the most of everything I can here.

"We're into the most crucial part of our league season now. The win on Saturday against Northampton leaves us well placed, provided we capitalise on it."

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  • LarryOfLevens  |  February 13 2013, 7:39PM

    Rupert remains the number one and best tight head at Gloucester. I'm afraid to say that there is no one competing for HIS tight head position.

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  • chuycastillos  |  February 13 2013, 7:20PM

    Rupert Harden is Gloucester's best and most proficient tight head by a country mile.

    |   6
  • telwez  |  February 13 2013, 7:15PM

    The number 3 shirt belongs to Harden. ND has selected him as his first choice.

    |   6
  • mattw74  |  February 13 2013, 7:10PM

    Rupert harden; Gloucester's best tight head.

    |   7
  • walker1105  |  February 13 2013, 7:07PM

    Harden.... 10 out of 14 starts in the Premiership. That is a fact attributable to him alone and to our knowledgeable DoR - Nigel Davies - who selects him to start.

    |   7
  • SidGlawsder  |  February 13 2013, 7:05PM

    The DoR, Nigel Davies, knows that Harden is his top tight head; everyone else knows that Rupert is the best tight head at Glaws. The only one who thinks otherwise and thinks he knows more about rugby and the Gloucester Rugby players than Nigel Davies is the troll WitneyFoxy/glawsteruk1/Django_G/jonno2010/Kap721/peh45/acadau.

    |   6
  • RoccoAgain  |  February 13 2013, 7:02PM

    Rupert harden... Our first choice tight head every time when it matters.

    |   5
  • Steve_Bronko  |  February 13 2013, 7:01PM

    We've played 14 Premiership games, so far this season, Harden has started 10. Nigel Davies, the chap who earns his money from knowing what is what when it comes to rugby union, certainly knows which of his tight-head props is his first choice even if the clueless troll gloslover-not/WitneyFoxy/akadau/glawsteruk1/peh45/etc is incapable of understanding that.

    |   6
  • dougiebailey  |  February 13 2013, 6:52PM

    Rupert Harden rules in the tight head position and dominates in the scrum. Let's hope he is still fit for the weekend against Wasps. We don't want our scrum going backwards, like it did against Tigers at Welford road.

    |   5
  • stewglos  |  February 12 2013, 5:49PM

    Another mainstay of the Gloucester squad whose career at Kingsholm comes to an end. But that is the nature of the game. He will be missed but others have already taken his place. It barely bears thinking about but, at some time in the far distant future, our best and most talented tight head, Rupert Harden, will have to be replaced too.

    |   9