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
After four rounds undefeated Buller led the Heartland Championship, a remarkable achievement for the tiny union. Then followed three losses in succession, none by more than three points, and Buller dropped to the Lochore Cup playoffs and suffered a two-point loss to Poverty Bay in the home semi-final. In three of the four losses, including the semi-final, the opposition snatched victory only within the ﬁnal four minutes of play. Not since 1949 has Buller scored a greater number of tries and a larger points differential.The ordering off of outstanding number eight Lee Nelmes, for a dangerous tackle, just 20 minutes into the Mid Canterbury game, and his subsequent suspension for two weeks, affected the team performance late in the season.
Defence was one of Buller’s strengths while on attack there was a dangerous midfield combination with Pene Nabainivalu and William Saukuru. As in the previous year Buller had a settled squad well led by Phil Rossiter, his fellow flanker being the evergreen Luke Brownlee who completed his 13th season without missing a game and set a new NPC record of 105 games in succession.
Former Buller loose forward Thomas Stuart had held the record with 104 games. Lee Nelmes’ efforts at the back of the scrum earned him selection in the Heartland team. Shane Grieve and Bevan Tetai were a strong locking pair while in the front row Logan Mundy, Scott McIlroy and match centurion Phil Beveridge completed a forward pack that was never bettered. Beveridge played for NZ Marist against the Heartland team in October.
Andrew Stephens and Origin player Phil Gibson were a tidy inside back combination, the former also representing NZ Heartland. Nabainivalu and Saukuru were a constant threat on attack and scored 11 tries between them. Nineteen-year-old Reuben Elley, Sam Marris and Tema Faifua were the wings with Matt Bonisch or Scott Neighbours at fullback.
Higher honours went to:
New Zealand Heartland: L.M.Nelmes, A.P.Stephens
2011 Match Record: Played 9 ; Won 5 ; Lost 4
Points : For 218 ; Against 163
2011 Fixtures & Results
|06 Aug, 5:00 pm||H||Poverty Bay||Heartland Championship||18 - 14|
|13 Aug, 5:00 pm||A||King Country||Heartland Championship||20 - 34|
|20 Aug, 5:00 pm||A||Wairarapa Bush||Heartland Championship||11 - 26|
|27 Aug, 5:00 pm||H||East Coast||Heartland Championship||34 - 08|
|03 Sep, 5:00 pm||A||Thames Valley||Heartland Championship||22 - 20|
|10 Sep, 5:00 pm||H||North Otago||Heartland Championship||08 - 11|
|17 Sep, 5:00 pm||A||Mid Canterbury||Heartland Championship||30 - 27|
|24 Sep, 5:00 pm||H||West Coast||Heartland Championship/Rundle Cup||21 - 15|
|01 Oct, 5:00 pm||H||Poverty Bay||Heartland Championship/Lochore Cup Semi Final||30 - 32|
2011 Buller REPRESENTATIVES
|Craig Adams||Fullback, Winger||3|
|Glen Duncan||Hooker, Prop||2|
|Lee Nelmes||Flanker, No. 8||7|
|Phillip Gibson||First Five||8|
|Scott McIlroy||Hooker, Prop||8|
|Shane Grieve||Flanker, Lock||9|
|Stephen Crackett||Hooker, Prop||9|
|Warwick Knox||Hooker, Prop||6|
|William Saukuru||Centre, Fullback||9|