6:01am Saturday 12th October 2013
FORMER Newport Gwent Dragons hooker Rhys Buckley insists his Moseley side aren't coming to Cross Keys just make up the numbers in this weekend's British and Irish Cup clash, writes Iwan Gabe Davies.
The Birmingham outfit will be firmly focused on the tournament and not distracted by worries at their Championship form, the ex-Pontypool front rower maintains.
His team are two from the bottom of the league, winless after three defeats although they did claw themselves back from a 31-3 deficit away at Plymouth Albion to claim a 34-34 draw.
Buckley aside, Moseley have a significant Gwent contingent in their ranks, including veteran former Caldicot, Pontypool, Exeter, Ospreys, London Welsh and Wasps second row Mike Powell, ex-Cross Keys and Ebbw Vale centre Will Owen and Newport High School hooker Will Evans.
And that's not to forgetting fellow countrymen in Wales international prop Ben Evans, winner of 26 caps between 1998 and 2004, still going strong at the age of 38, as well as Pontypridd lock Cory Hill who captained Wales Under-20s to third place at the Junior World Championship in South Africa last year.
And honourable mention also has to go to ex-Ebbw Vale wing Simon Hunt who has played for England Sevens.
Buckley, 24, who made 16 appearances for the Dragons in the 2011/12 season, is adamant Moseley are up for it.
"We've had a bit of a difficult start to the season but we will be taking this weekend's game seriously – we aren't coming down to Cross Keys just to make up the numbers," he said.
"We have a large squad with a lot of talented boys with us from the Northampton Academy with plenty to play for, looking to feature for the club in the future and not just in this competition."
Originally from New Tredegar in the Rhymney Valley, Buckley still lives in Caldicot, where he spent much of his childhood, and commutes to training twice a week and for weekend games, travelling to the Midlands and beyond in a car share with many of his Welsh teammates.
On his own plans down the road, Buckley, who joined Moseley from relegated Championship side Doncaster Knights at the end of last season, said: "I would like to come to play in Wales some day, but I'm really enjoying my time here.
"I'm a full-time professional and I've started every game in the league so far this season.
"And playing next to Ben Evans is great – he's still got it! He has a wealth of experience and it's brilliant to have him next to me in the scrum. He gives me tips which do benefit my game. And he's got a few brilliant tales to tell!"
Dragons fly-half Steffan Jones will make his return from an elbow injury off the bench for Keys while his regional teammate Aaron Coundley is reserve loosehead.
Cross Keys: A Bramwell, L Williams, L Andrews (captain), A James, N Trowbridge, A O'Brien, R Dyer, R Cornock, G Price, N Buck, D Hodge, T Lampard, R Tucker, S Matthews, A Powell. Replacements: A Coundley, D Hughes, C Gould, O Hodge, R James, S Jones, N Williams.
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