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
Buller and neighbours West Coast were the only remaining regions in New Zealand rugby never to have won a national championship trophy — until 2012. Buller had sighted the Lochore Cup when Westport hosted the 2010 ﬁnal but Wairarapa Bush took the trophy home. There was no prize for second place despite Buller’s narrow 15-9 loss. In 2012 Buller hosted the Lochore Cup final again after a most successful season. Hosting rights ‘were assisted by South Canterbury being stripped of two championship points because of a breach of the eligibility regulations,
During the round robin only Wanganui comfortably defeated Buller, the other losses being to North Otago and eventual Meads Cup winner East Coast. Memories of the 2010 ﬁnal lost returned to several of the players, and coaches, when a semi-ﬁnal against Poverty Bay was set to be played at Westport. The disappointment of two years; previous made the home side more determined to avoid a repeat. Buller raced away to a 31-03 halftime lead and Won 42-22.
In the ﬁnal South Canterbury were dominant during the ﬁrst half, scoring two tries while Marty Banks kicked four penalties to keep the home side in the game. Near halftime Andrew Norton-Taylor scored under the posts and Buller trailed by one point. After the break, Pene Nabainivalu scored, and later Ilaisa Namua. For the remaining 20 minutes Buller defended its ll-point lead against South Canterbury’s strong attacks. A try was conceded but the game was won 31-28. It was Buller’s Finest Hour in championship rugby.
For the coaches Craig Neil and Craig Scanlon the cup win was a ﬁtting reward for six years guiding the team. Reward also to the players who had given many years’ service to the small union including the centurions Luke Brownlee and Phil Beveridge. Nabainivalu was in outstanding form, he forming a dangerous attacking midﬁeld partnership with Trael Joass. Teenager Andrew Norton-Taylor showed much promise on the wing and a versatile William Saukuru performed well in each of the four positions he was placed. Marty Banks, a former Canterbury B rep, set a new union record for points in a season. Andrew Stephens’ consistent form again earned him Heartland selection.
James Foster locked the scrum with Ben Coman and later Craig Moore. Coman led the side in the ﬁnal games following the injury to captain Bevan Tetai. Coman was one of the standout performers of the championship and deserved his Heartland selection. Props Beveridge, Logan Mundy and Stephen Crackett formed a strong front row with hooker Ilaisa Namua. Matt Parata was a promising loose forward while veteran Luke Brownlee retains his place, his commitment and high tackle count being an inspiration to the younger players.
Higher honours went to:
New Zealand Heartland: B.F.Coman, A.P.Stephens
2013 Match Record: Played 10 ; Won 7 ; Lost 3
Points : For 278 ; Against 230
2012 Fixtures & Results
|25 Aug, 5:00 pm||H||Thames Valley||Heartland Championship||24 - 14|
|01 Sep, 5:00 pm||A||North Otago||Heartland Championship||22 - 15|
|08 Sep, 5:00 pm||A||East Coast||Heartland Championship||20 - 18|
|15 Sep, 5:00 pm||H||King Country||Heartland Championship||31 - 19|
|22 Sep, 5:00 pm||A||South Canterbury||Heartland Championship||32 - 45|
|29 Sep, 5:00 pm||H||Horowhenua Kapiti||Heartland Championship||34 - 16|
|06 Oct, 5:00 pm||A||Wanganui||Heartland Championship||39 - 12|
|13 Oct, 5:00 pm||H||West Coast||Heartland Championship/Rundle Cup||26 - 18|
|20 Oct, 5:00 pm||H||Poverty Bay||Heartland Championship/Lochore Cup Semi Final||42 - 22|
|28 Oct, 5:00 pm||H||South Canterbury||Heartland Championship/Lochore Cup Final||31 - 28|
2012 Buller REPRESENTATIVES
|Craig Moore||Lock, Prop||7|
|Isei Lewaqai||Lock, No. 8||6|
|Martin 'Marty' Banks||First Five, Fullback||10|
|Phillip Gibson||First Five||4|
|Stephen Crackett||Hooker, Prop||8|
|Warwick Knox||Hooker, Prop||9|
|William Saukuru||Centre, Fullback||10|