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Ngakawau takes out Senior Shield in close match

by Barry Townrow westportnews.co.nz

A jubilant Ngakawau took out the Buller Coal Senior Rugby Shield on Saturday over White Star in the finals for 2013.

This gave Ngakawau a repeat victory after being champions in 2012.

Not only did they win the Senior Shield but Ngakawau also gained the Challenge Trophy and won the Jubilee Trophy.
The Jubilee Trophy was to be played next weekend between the Buller senior champion, Ngakawau and West Coast top side, Blaketown.
Blaketown have already defaulted this game so the trophy will automatically go to Ngakawau.

Ngakawau 16 v 12 White Star
This game was always going to be a close affair as the two sides knew that discipline and mistakes could make the difference.
At the final whistle this was exactly what separated the two sides.
While Ngakawau’s lack of discipline at times cost them four kickable penalties, it was the White Star mistakes that gifted Ngakawau two tries to go with two penalties, that saw the country team win the Buller Coal Senior Shield 16-12.
It was the hard, physical approach of the Ngakawau pack, backed up by some solid defence in the backline that denied White Star any real attacking ball.
Not being able to get any satisfactory go-forward ball saw the Star backs becoming frustrated in their play. This led to uncharacteristic errors from both the backs and forwards. Ngakawau used this to their advantage and scored two good tries, one in each half.
These tries came through left winger Iosefa Senibua who showed his finishing skills to complement the build-up.
Ngakawau led 11-6 at halftime with Senibua’s first try adding to two Andrew Stephens’ penalties.
The Ngakawau forwards were well led by captain Simon Abel and locking partner Paul Clarkson.
These two were rock solid as lineout jumpers and anchored the scrum at these set pieces.

The front row of Clark Nelson, Iliasa Namua and Connor McKinnon-Stephenson were prominent in the tight work with Namua also showing out in the loose with Ryan Forman, Jesse Donaldson and Rhys Burton.

Halfback Andrew Stephens controlled a no-nonsense backline where Moape Koroi, Michael Mumm and Stephen Lowe never gave the White Star backs, Jesse Elley, Pene Nabainivalu and John Noble, room to move.

On the wings Senibua and Marcos Nariaria were always looking for work with fullback Isaac Wilson never being tested by any White Star tactics.
Winger Iliesa Ravudra, for White Star, used his pace to unsettle Ngakawau whenever he received the ball, with the forwards Gene Simmis and Warwick Knox being the pick of a pack that battled hard for 80 minutes.

To win a senior championship you have to be as mistake free as possible. Ngakawau was the more composed team in the final while White Star chose this day to have their worst game of the season as the basic mistakes from them showed. Referee Steve Menzies (West Coast).

Westport 43 v 10 Old Boys
In a very free-flowing curtain raiser to the Senior Shield, Westport defeated Old Boys to win the Craddock Trophy.
Scoring three tries to one in the first half to lead 19-5 at the break, Westport scored a further four tries to one in the second half to win 43-10.
Having plenty of pace in the backs Westport outflanked Old Boys with Setifano Sauqaqa and Mitieli Kaloudigibeci showing their skills.
Up front Marc Crackett got himself involved in a lot of the tight work while Jason Thomas and Epeli Nairabokitoga were prominent in broken play.
Isei Lewaqai was again Old Boys’ leading player, along with Aca Saukuru in the forwards and Grant Fussell.
Halfback Troy Adams tried to keep his backline functioning with five eighth Josh Cave. Referee Paul Bonisch.
Point scorers:
Ngakawau – tries to Iosefo Senibua (2), Andrew Stephens two penalties.
White Star – Jesse Elley four penalties.

Westport – tries to Setifano Sauqaqa (2), Andrew Norton-Taylor (2), Mitieli Kaloudigibeci, Tuk Samuels, Tyronne Meti; Norton-Taylor conversion, Kaloudigibeci two conversions, Chris Aldridge conversion.
Old Boys – tries to Isei Lewaqai, Aca Saukuru.

Westport Retain Albion Cup

Westport has claimed the first bit of silverwear of the 2013 Buller club rugby season after they completed the first round of the season unbeaten. Westport faced off with previously unbeaten White Star in the final match of the round played at George Craddock Park on Wednesday night (30th April) and both teams provided the large crowd with plenty of action and intensity befitting of a final. It was White Star who started the stronger of the two sides as they capitalised on the poor discipline Westport showed early and through the boot of White Star five eight Jesse Elley, they were able to race to a 9-0 lead courtesy of 3 penalty goals. Westport managed to claw their way back through 3 penalty goals of their own to fullback Vaughan Oldham before the halftime break as both teams portrayed some stoic defence under the night sky. The set-pieces for each side were completely contrasting. White Star had the completely dominant scrum whilst Westport controlled not only their ball at lineout time but also disrupted most of White Stars. Heading to the break at 9-9 the game was certainly there for taking for either side. The second half started with more ill-discipline, this time from White Star as they continued to infringe and allow Westport to gain both possession and territory. This was repaid in the form of a further penalty goal to Oldham and a try to Fijian centre Miteli to open up a 19-9 lead. White Star managed to close the gap to 3 points courtesy of a well taken try to flanker Sam Marris after the ball was passed between a number of sets of White Star hands. Heading into the final 10 minutes the ascendancy was starting to shift back to White Star as Westport were struggling to gain possession of the ball and were perhaps guilty of looking forward to the final whistle. The defence of the yellow and blacks was inspired however as they continued to force White Star into mistakes at crucial times. White Star continued to struggle at line-out time and with their scrum dominance no longer a factor due to the scrums forced to go uncontested, they found it hard to apply pressure to the Westport try line. With time expired on the clock and White Star continuing to the hold possession inside the Westport half, White Star were awarded a penalty in handy goal kicking range. With White Star holding a 1 point advantage on the standings table it appeared they would kick for goal to force a draw and claim the Albion Cup however they decided instead to go for the try. It was perhaps fitting then that the match was finished by a White Star error as the Westport defence stood strong. The match had plenty of intensity and vigour and both sides showed excellent defence. Both sides clearly showed that they were going to be the ones to beat in this year’s Senior Shield and at this early stage of the season it would be hard not to see this match up being the last match played in the 2013 Buller club rugby season. Referee: Nathan Thompson


Saturday was set down as ‘finals day’ for all Buller sides and the day certainly lived up to its billing for the Buller Rugby Union. Teams from U10 through to seniors lined up in the culmination of the club season’s play. Play started at 9.30am at Craddock Park with games for the U6 and U8 grades as well and finished at 4.50pm on Victoria Square after the exciting Senior Shield final had to go into extra time.Senior Shield: Ngakawau 22 v Westport 19 With the score locked at 19 all after 80 minutes of ordinary play Ngakawau and Westport then played an extra ten minutes each way to decide the 2012 Buller Coal Senior Shield. It was Ngakawau goal kicker Andy Stephens who broke the deadlock with his fifth penalty kick of the afternoon in the eighth minute of the first half of extra time.

His team then had to hang on for the remaining 12 minutes before calling themselves this year’s champion team. Westport had been ahead 13-10 at halftime and for the first 20 minutes had been the dominant team before allowing Ngakawau back into the game.

By using long cut-out passes in the backs Westport stretched the Ngakawau defence. Five eighth Wavell Te Tai and centre Blair Skipper used the width of the field to create problems and Te Tai scored an individual try from confusion in the Ngakawau backs. Part way through the half Westport appeared to change tactics and then wanted to play the game in the forwards. This suited Ngakawau, who struggling in the scrum at times, won more than their share of lineout ball and competed equally for the loose ball. In any game discipline has to be maintained but with both teams eager for any advantage it was Westport who suffered in the final count. They suffered most at the ruck and maul area with players off their feet and this cost them gound and points. Defence from both teams was rock solid after the opening ten minutes. Each side scored a try with the goal kickers providing the extra points.

Ngakawau loosie Matt Leary and lock Paul Clarkson dominated the lineouts while the front three of Clark Nelson, Ryan Forman and Ilaisa Namua excelled in the tight work. Namua also stood out as a ball carrier as he displayed his running skills. Halfback Stephens showed his talents as a director of play and his leadership was vital to his team the longer the game went.

Westport too had their standouts in this enthralling match. Number eight Bevan Te Tai carried the ball up all afternoon for his team, tackled well on defence and won lineout ball when called upon. He was ably supported by fellow loosie Matt Parata, prop Stephen Crackett and hooker Glen Duncan. In the backs Nick Makea at halfback had a great tussle with his opposite Andrew Stephens but it was a mystery to why more was not seen of the elusive Vaughan Oldham or fullback Andrew Norton-Taylor. Both had moments on attack but weren’t called upon often enough to test the Ngakawau defence. After 100 minutes of gruelling rugby it was a delighted Ngakawau team, bench, management and supporters who threw their arms aloft and saluted a hard-fought victory. For Westport defeat will be hard to take after doing so well during the club season. However, finals is all about doing it right on the day and taking your chances.

With the talent they have in their side they will be back next season with plenty to prove. Referee Nathan Thompson. Craddock Trophy: White Star 27 v Reefton 16 It was White Star who won the third place playoff for the Craddock Trophy when they came out on top of Reefton in an open game of running rugby. Up 15-9 at halftime both teams attempted to move the ball at every opportunity. With both backs and forwards wanting to be part of the open game handling mistakes did occur but this didn’t detract from the match at any stage.

Pene Nabainivalu and winger Brad Collins were two of White Stars stand-out backs with their pace while five eighth Jesse Elley directed play with his passing and kicking game. In the forwards the youth of flanker Braden Lawry matched the experience of Luke Brownlee and Mark Diskin in skill level. Reefton relied on the talented boot of Marty Banks to keep them on attack where number eight Axel Young and prop Hemi Manawatu then tried to mix it with the Star pack. Referee Paul Bonisch.Point scorers: Ngakawau – try to Marcos Nariaria; Andrew Stephens five penalties and a conversion. Westport – try to Wavel Te Tai; Vaughan Oldham four penalties and a conversion. White Star – tries to Brad Collins (2), Pene Nabainivalu, Apenisa Ratugolenavanua; Jesse Elley two conversions and a penalty. Reefton – try to Axel Young; Marty Banks three penalties and conversion. Buller Rugby Union finals day: Buller Coal Senior Shield – Ngakawau. Max Elley Memorial Trophy (runners-up) – Westport. Craddock Trophy – White Star U16 – Westport defeated Wests 43-16. U14 – White Star defeated Wests 27-0 U12 – Old Boys defeated Westport 83-0 U10 – White Star drew with Westport 15-15

2012 Playoffs begin

Two mouth-watering contests are in store this weekend as the semi-final round of the senior club competition kicks off. With Westport already through to the final virtue of finishing as top qualifiers, Ngakawau will host White Star to see who will meet them in the Senior Shield final the following weekend. Meanwhile, Reefton will host Old Boys to see who earns the right to play the in the W. A Craddock Trophy against the losing team of the Senior Shield semi final.

Ngakawau v White Star

In what will be an eagerly anticipated semi final between these two teams, it appears not too much separates these two sides. Round robin play backs this up as Ngakawau hold a slight 2-1 advantage however the losing team in all three games has secured a losing bonus point for being within 7 points. Both teams enter the semi finals in contrasting fashion, Ngakawau have had a stellar season winning 8 of their 11 regular season games with the 3 losses all being by no more than 3 points, add to that, the Life Members Trophy. White Star meanwhile enter the semi’s with a 6 win 5 loss record including just one win in the 6 games played against Ngakawau and Westport. Write this team off at your own peril however as the vast majority of this group have enjoyed more success than any current players in finals rugby.

A lot is said about winning rugby games up front and the battle of the front rows this weekend will be immense. Opposing tighthead props Phil Beveridge and Clark Nelson have well over 200 Buller caps between them and lead their respective front rows well. Beveridge will have the support of incumbent Buller hooker Warwick Knox and former Counties prop Ehipa Thompson while Nelson will have the support in livewire hooker Ryan Foreman and Fijian pocket rocket Ilaisa Namua. Their battle will be worthy of admission alone. The back 5 in the forward packs are slightly different with Ngakawau reliant more so on agility with their abundance of skilful loose forwards in the form of captain Jesse Donaldson, Stephen Lowe, Matt Leary, Simon Abel and Matt Coles but do have power in Phil Kinraid and height in Paul Clarkson. The final makeup of there forward pack could be dependent on weather conditions. White Star on the other hand has a powerful and robust second row in the form of Logan Mundy and Hendrick Kloppers. Their loose forwards in Apenisa Ratugoleanavanua, Braden Lawry and Luke Brownlee will combine attacking running threats along with lineout options and excellent defence.

Both backlines have been reasonably settled this year and should be starting to hit their straps. White Star has a young inside combination of Brad Collins and Jesse Elley but do have plenty of experience outside with representative players Pene Nabainivalu and Sam Marris. Ngakawau have an abundance of experience with halfback Andrew Stephens and second five eight Michael Mumm as well as first five Moapi Koroi who has dictated play well. If dry conditions are available both teams certainly have players to finish with Ngakawau’s Isaac Wilson, Marcos Nariaria and Luke McKessar and White Star’s John Noble, Isaac Taylor and Francis Carmine all proven scoring threats. Expect it to be physical, combative and very close.

Reefton v Old Boys

Their last two games played against each other have been frantic, exhilarating and nail-biting and expect no less when they meet again on Saturday. The last match took a 45m dropped goal by Marty Banks to secure Reefton’s win whilst their previous encounter was a 1 point victory to Old Boys. Home advantage could prove critical in this fixture with Reefton likely to field a strong team at home although Old Boys will be desperate to be playing next weekend and will almost certainly have a full muster to travel.Both teams strengths to a certain extent have been their key backs they possess. Old Boys William Saukuru has been in vintage form throughout the Life Members rounds and has excellent allies in Kelly McSharry, Maurice Masters and Dylan Boyer.

Reefton has stacks of talent with Manawatu brothers Moana and Thor as well as player/coach Kevin Moore. Perhaps the key to this game will be the availabilities of both teams’ playmakers. Old Boys Scott Neighbours has battled an injury of late and if he is fit could allow Saukuru to range a little wider. Reefton will be sweating on the availability of Marty Banks who can certainly be a match-winner as he has proven to date already.

Both forwards packs have plenty of strength with Reefton’s loose forwards of Axel Young, Rory Kennedy and Brandon Clark having strong seasons whilst Old Boys loose forwards Isei Lewaqai, Pat Dooley and Alex Rodgers have turned in good games of late. Their battle against each other could well prove important as to what team can provide the best attacking opportunities.

Westport retain 2012 Albion Cup

Westport kept their unbeaten run alive in Premier club rugby in Buller with a thrilling last minute try to defeat White Star 28-23. The result seemed destined for a White Star victory after a scrum was awarded to them with the final play of the game.

From the ensuing scrum, a free kick was awarded to Westport for an incorrect feed and Westport worked there way down field in to drop goal range. The attempted drop goal sailed wide of the posts and landed in the in-goal area before taking a cruel bounce for White Star back towards the goal line where Westport lock forward Jamie Burnett following through claimed the ball to score.

In a match which saw 4 lead changes throughout the game both teams threw everything at each other in a match worthy of finals calibre. The result also ensured Westport retained the Albion Cup for 2012, finishing 6 points clear of Ngakawau who recorded a bonus point victory over Old Boys at the Ngakawau Domain 39-0.

Junior Rugby

2011 JAB Club season completed

The 2011 JAB season has been completed with a successful finals day and prizegiving. The Buller Rugby Union wish to thank all players, coaches, officials, parents and supporters for their endless work throughout the season. The following teams and players were recognised at the prizegiving:

2011 Winners:

Under 6
Glenn Elley Trophy, Most skilled team Reefton
Elley Family Trophy, Sportsmanship White Star
Buller JAB, Most Committed Westport
Buller JAB, Fair Play Old Boys
Under 8
ASB Trophy, Most skilled team White Star
Watts Motors Trophy, Fair play award Karamea
Cunninghams coaches trophy, sportsmanship Reefton
Karamea motors trophy, most committed Old Boys
Solid Energy trophy, tidiest team Westport
Under 10
50th Jubilee Cup, Winner of first round White Star
Dennis Straker Cup, Winner of Final White Star
Keith & M Simmiss Cup, Most imp U10 player Jesse Spittal (Old Boys)
Under 12
Life Members Cup, Winner of first round Old Boys
Buller motorways cup, Winner of Final Old Boys
Nell Kerr Cup, Most Improved U12 player Kyran Flanagan (White Star)
Jubilee Winner Old Boys
Under 14
Neighbours Trophy, Winner of first round Westport
Cascade Cup, Winner of Final Westport
Bob Colvin Cup, Most improved U14 player Nathan Ducker (White Star)
Under 16
Buller winner Karamea/Ngakawau
Jubilee Trophy winner Karamea/Ngakawau
Michael Scanlon Cup – Determination to succeed Jamie Hunter (Reefton)
Bernie Stewart Memorial Trophy – Coach of the year Corey Shearer
50th Jubilee Trophy – Most outstanding JAB team Old Boys U12


Schools are a great place to foster sport and we at the Buller Rugby Union try to ensure that rugby is available to all schools within our region. We can offer assistance to any school who requires it, and we will also offer our support to any rugby initiatives run within any of the schools. We can also help to upskill any teachers/administrators/students who wish to get involved with coaching or administration within the rugby community. So please contact us if you would like any help at your school.

Schools 2012 Program

DATE Opposition Result/Venue
29/3/12 Garrin College Lost 23-24
10/4/12 Guilford Grammar (Aus) Lost 31-5
2/5/12 Greymouth HS BHS
TBC Westland HS BHS
11/6/12 Kaiapoi HS Kaiapoi
25/6/12 Mt Hutt College BHS