We hope you enjoy this look back as we look forward to many more years of recording the history of Buller Rugby Union.
We acknowledge all the information from the NZ “Rugby Almanack” Series since 1934 and appreciate their hard and dedicated work in providing this detailed history. – Web Admin
For the second time in three seasons Buller went all the Way to the Meads Cup ﬁnal, losing to favourites Wanganui 18-20 in a match for which Buller really rose to the occasion. With an ounce of luck, extra time could have been forced but two penalty kicks went astray in the ﬁnal ﬁve minutes.
From the 2015 squad, missing were Jale Masi (Canterbury), Taione Ratu (South Canterbury), Mitieli Kaloudigibeci (injured) and Paul Clarkson (unavailable). Thirty-one players took the ﬁeld with 12 doing so for the ﬁrst time, although James So’oialo had previously represented Wellington and Samoa.
The big and fast backline was always a constant threat to the opposition and responsible for 29 of the 36 tries scored. Anthony Tailua had a notable debut season. Having started the year playing rugby league in Christchurch, his attacking prowess from fullback brought him eight tries. His shift from wing to fullback only came about when James So’oialo suffered injury in the opening match. Wing Setafano Sauqaqa again was a good ﬁnisher, running in seven tries. James Lash returned for 2016 and continued on from his standout 2014 performances. The classy ﬁrst five-eighth was the top points scorer in the Heartland Championship and joint top try scorer for the union. Andrew Stephens remains one of the better halfbacks in the Heartland Championship. Newcomer Joshua Tuidriva appeared in the midﬁeld in all 10 matches.
At number eight, Daniel Hytongue was the standout forward, turning in a number of noteworthy performances. Luke Brownlee set a new appearance record for Buller, removing Thomas Stuart’s name from the record books. From his debut in 1999 he has made 161 ﬁrst-class appearances and, incredibly, only missed three matches. Loan player Blair Mcllroy was again useful at blindside ﬂanker, being very good defensively. Ciaran Neilsen showed some promise in his debut season at lock, while hooker Anthony Ellis, in his ﬁrst full season, displayed good improvement on last year. At the age of 42 prop Phil Beveridge was the oldest player in the Heartland Championship and announced his retirement after the Meads Cup ﬁnal, having debuted in 1993.
On 6 August, a Seddon Shield challenge to Nelson Bays was lost 16-19 when conceding a converted try three minutes from the end, in a non-ﬁrst-class match.
Higher honours went to:
New Zealand Heartland: D.W.L.Hytongue, J.J.Lash
2016 Match Record: Played 10 ; Won 7 ; Lost 3
Points : For 292; Against 216
note: a new points structure was trialed in the 2016 Heartland Championship in 2017 they revert back to the 2016 scoring system :
HEARTLAND CHAMPIONSHIP 2016
|27 Aug, 5:00 pm||A||South Canterbury||Heartland Championship||28 - 26|
|03 Sep, 5:00 pm||H||Mid Canterbury||Heartland Championship||34 - 32|
|10 Sep, 5:00 pm||A||Poverty Bay||Heartland Championship||18 - 30|
|17 Sep, 5:00 pm||H||West Coast||Heartland Championship||48 - 00|
|24 Sep, 5:00 pm||H||East Coast||Heartland Championship||54 - 22|
|01 Oct, 5:00 pm||A||Wairarapa Bush||Heartland Championship||24 - 26|
|08 Oct, 5:00 pm||H||Wanganui||Heartland Championship||00 - 28|
|15 Oct, 5:00 pm||A||King Country||Heartland Championship||38 - 40|
|22 Oct, 5:00 pm||A||South Canterbury||Heartland Championship/Meads Cup Semi Final||06 - 16|
|29 Oct, 5:00 pm||A||Wanganui||Heartland Championship/Meads Cup Final||20 - 18|
2016 Buller REPRESENTATIVES
|Anthony Tailua||Fullback, Winger||10|
|Craig Moore||Lock, Prop||2|
|Dan Hytongue||No. 8||10|
|Glen Duncan||Hooker, Prop||5|
|James Lash||First Five||10|
|James So'oialo||First Five, Fullback, Winger||1|
|Joshua Tuidriva||Centre, Winger||10|
|Kahutia Parata||Flanker, Lock||1|
|Petaia Saukuru||Centre, Winger||9|
|Shane Grieve||Flanker, Lock||1|
|Stephen Crackett||Hooker, Prop||4|