HOOKER Rhys Buckley expects to be in the thick of the action after signing a deal with English Championship outfit Doncaster.
The 22-year-old has penned a one-year contract with the Knights after being released by Newport Gwent Dragons.
After talks with Cardiff Blues came to nothing, Buckley jumped at the chance to link up with former Dragons full-back Brett Davey, who is Doncaster’s director of rugby.
The front-rower, who was born in Caerphilly but lives in Caldicot, is excited by the prospect of getting plenty of game time in Yorkshire after kicking his heels in frustration at Rodney Parade.
Buckley earned a one-year deal with the Dragons after impressing in the Premiership with Pontypool. Life started well in the regional ranks but the last of his 16 appearances came in February as he fell behind experienced hooker Steve Jones and his 20-year-old protege Sam Parry.
Nonetheless, Buckley’s qualities caught the attention of Doncaster and next term he will lock horns with some abrasive English rivals.
“I am looking forward to it and I just want to play regular rugby after a frustrating second half of the season,” said Buckley, who was an electrical engineer.
“I was out of favour and in the end I couldn’t even get a game with Pontypool because they were giving game time to Hugh Gustafson (who is being converted from prop to hooker).
“This is a fresh start and having watched some Championship rugby I’d imagine it will be pretty physical.
“I do like the tight stuff and Doncaster have a big pack and will be looking for me to produce the goods at the set piece.
“My long-term aim is to get picked up by an Aviva Premiership side or another Welsh region so this is a great opportunity for me.
“I will be in the shop window but I know that I will need to play well to earn the start and keep it. It’s going to be a challenge and I can’t wait.”