8:31am Wednesday 26th February 2014
RHYS Buckley says he is coming back to Newport Gwent Dragons a more experienced and more mature player, writes Chris Kirwan.
The 24-year-old hooker has penned a one-season deal to return to Rodney Parade after two campaigns in the English Championship, the first with Doncaster and the second with Moseley.
Buckley, a former electrical engineer, earned a professional deal in 2011/12 thanks to some impressive performances with Pontypool in the Premiership.
He made 16 appearances but an off the field misdemeanour in the festive period meant that he fell out of favour and a new deal wasn't forthcoming.
"It was my own fault that it all went a bit wrong at the Dragons but I'd like to think that I've matured a lot after going to Doncaster and Moseley," said Buckley, who is from Caldicot.
"I stepped up from Pontypool into a full-time environment but I've grown up a bit and I now know what it takes to become a professional.
"I've done my bit in England and I feel that it has improved me as a player and a person."
Buckley will be battling with Rhys Thomas, Elliot Dee and Hugh Gustafson for a place in the matchday squad and he believes experienced gained from a bruising style of rugby over the border will serve him well.
"The Championship is a good league and I have started plenty of games for both Doncaster and Moseley," he said.
"I was a young, inexperienced front row forward when I was at the Dragons and I've learnt a hell of a lot playing some tough rugby against some strong sides.
"It's a challenging league with teams having a mix of older heads and some talented youngsters and I have enjoyed playing week in, week out.
"Getting that game time has been brilliant and it has been great to play alongside (former Wales prop) Ben Evans, who has taught me a fair few things.
"It's done me good but it's nice to be coming back home and I want to challenge for a spot, get a few games and show what I can do."
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