Buckley has often hinted at devastating potential - most notably against the All Blacks in New Zealand last year - but has too often failed to deliver.
Flashes of explosive ball carrying and destructive defence - as demonstrated by his crunching tackle on Richie McCaw - are at odds with a perceived lack of aggression.
By his own admission the 30-year-old has struggled for consistency and patience among Ireland's management for one of Test rugby's more laid back front rows is surely running out.
An opportunity to shine will come in Sunday's World Cup Pool C clash with Russia and Buckley insists he requires ownership of the jersey to prove himself.
"I have been all over the place. Last November against South Africa I played brutal and got injured," he said.
"Two weeks later against Argentina I was back and we did well, driving them off the ball. There were a few good things that happened.
"Two weeks after that I played the Ospreys and that was a nightmare, personally.
"It's been improving over the last few months. I just need a run of games and staying injury free. Trying to get games at tighthead is what I want.
"Last year up to the Toulon game at Thomond Park I was feeling really good, scoring two tries.
"I was looking forward to boxing on from there, but then my momentum was killed after that. Getting that place and staying there is crucial.
"If I can string five games together, then we'll see what happens."
Buckley's prospects of usurping the brilliant Mike Ross at tighthead are remote at best with the Leinster prop almost single handedly turning the scrum into an offensive weapon.
If he must continue in the support role, then Buckley will accept his duties with stoicism.
"The back role is something I'm used to. I was back-up to John Hayes at Munster for years," he said.
"I got a few games for Ireland but have started slipping back into that role.
"Mike has had some great matches over the last few months, so I'm stuck as fringe squad player.
"It's not where I want to be, but it's where I am. I don't plan on being in this position for long.
"If I get a run of games then hopefully I'll be able to put some pressure on Mike Ross.
"I can't be too angry about it, I'm away from home for six weeks so being angry isn't a good place to be.
"You have to stay calm and enjoy yourself. If you're bitter around the training field you won't enjoy yourself.
"The management are good, they're open to talking to you and will tell you exactly where you are."
Buckley's finest match in an Ireland jersey came in last year's 66-28 thumping at Yarrow Stadium in a rampaging performance topped by his bone-jarring tackle on McCaw.
"It was a very strange game to be involved in," said the former Munster prop.
"Jamie Heaslip was sent off after 10 minutes and then Ronan O'Gara got sin binned, so for a stretch of the game we were down to 13 players.
"That was a nightmare because they were throwing the ball everywhere and we had to cover two positions.
"There were only six scrums in the games, so there was lots of open running, offloads and passing.
"We ended up getting lots of ball and I feel comfortable on the ball, so I really enjoyed the game.
"And I got a good shoulder into Richie McCaw. That felt good. In that match everything fell into place for me."
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