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 reached the Meads Cup semi-finals for the very first time, and went on to host the final in which they bowed to defending champion Mid Canterbury 13-36. Despite the final outcome, the team of 2014 set many new standards for future Buller teams to benchmark themselves against: most wins in a season — 10 (previously seven on five occasions); most tries in a season — 46 (previously 40 in 1935), as well as the numerous new entries recorded on the title page. The loss in the Meads Cup final not only denied the 2014 team any silverware and a perfect first-class record for the year, it also prevented the side equaling the union’s record of 11 consecutive wins set in 1931-32.
Luke Brownlee set a new national record for most consecutive first-class appearances for any province when he took the field against King Country at Te Kuiti. It was his 138th first-class match for the province — all consecutive — to beat the record of 137 set by Ramon Sutherland for Marlborough in 1974 and equaled by another Buller man, Thomas Stuart, in 1999. At season’s end Luke had taken the new record to 145, a tremendous achievement.
Only 25 players were used in the ll first-class matches with 11 players appearing in all matches. Seven players were new with James Lash having previously represented Mid Canterbury and loan player Attila Va’a previously representing Counties Manukau. Prominent losses from last year were Lee Nelmes, Paul Clarkson (both overseas) and William Saukuru (Canterbury).
The free-running backline played with a lot of flair. Wingers Scott Neighbours and Setefano Sauqaqa scored three tries each while behind them Ilieasa Ravudra Was the star, setting a new try-scoring record for the season of 11, breaking the record set in 1935. The midfield pairing of Mike Lealava’a and Penijimani Nabainivalu was always a dangerous one. The partnership ended when Lealava’a was injured against West Coast, which brought Ravudra up from fullback. James Lash had a stellar debut season for Buller in all facets of first five-eighth play. His 142 points was a new season record for the union. At halfback Andrew Stephens fed the backline at every opportunity.
The forward pack was a mobile one. Blindside flanker Blair Mcllroy was a standout, being a very aggressive ball winner at the breakdown, as was Luke Brownlee. Newcomer Taione Ratu was strong at running from number eight and won good ball at the back of the lineout. Another standout was lock Craig Moore, and along with 2.03m debutant Morgan Eames, was prominent in the lineout. When Eames returned to England halfway through the season, loan player Glen Angus formed a good partnership with Moore. The front row of Logan Mundy, Warwick Knox and Jerome Va’ai was strong in the tight and all were solid ball carriers. 40-year-old Phil Beveridge appeared in his 16th season for the union.
Five players were selected into the NZ Heartland team, another new record for Buller. For the co-coaches, Craig Neill and Craig Scanlon, first appointed in 2007, it was their eighth consecutive season in charge, making them the current longest-serving head coaches in a current tenure out of all 26 provinces.
The Seddon Shield was won for the first time since 1992 with the pre-Heartland 42-31 win over West Coast in a first-class fixture. The following Weekend the Shield was lost to Nelson Bays 17-18 in a non first-class fixture.
Higher honours went to:
New Zealand Heartland: J.J.Lash, C.M.Moore, L.M.Mundy, P.B.Nabainivalu, A.P.Stephens
2014 Match Record: Played 11; Won 10 ; Lost 1
Points : For 359; Against 227
2014 Fixtures & Results
|09 Aug, 5:00 pm||A||West Coast||Rundle Cup||31 - 42|
|23 Aug, 5:00 pm||H||North Otago||Heartland Championship||17 - 09|
|30 Aug, 5:00 pm||A||East Coast||Heartland Championship||06 - 67|
|06 Sep, 5:00 pm||A||King Country||Heartland Championship||29 - 53|
|13 Sep, 5:00 pm||H||South Canterbury||Heartland Championship||19 - 10|
|20 Sep, 5:00 pm||A||Mid Canterbury||Heartland Championship||19 - 29|
|27 Sep, 5:00 pm||H||Horowhenua Kapiti||Heartland Championship||19 - 12|
|04 Oct, 5:00 pm||H||West Coast||Heartland Championship||29 - 24|
|11 Oct, 5:00 pm||A||Wairarapa Bush||Heartland Championship||36 - 49|
|18 Oct, 5:00 pm||H||Horowhenua Kapiti||Heartland Championship/Meads Cup Semi Final||22 - 15|
|25 Oct, 5:00 pm||H||Mid Canterbury||Heartland Championship/Meads Cup Final||13 - 36|
2014 Buller REPRESENTATIVES
|Craig Adams||Fullback, Winger||8|
|Craig Moore||Lock, Prop||10|
|Glen Duncan||Hooker, Prop||8|
|Iliesa Ravudra||Fullback, Winger||11|
|Isei Lewaqai||Lock, No. 8||11|
|James Lash||First Five||11|
|Jesse Elley||First Five, Fullback||10|
|Reece Burton||Flanker, No. 8||11|
|Taione Ratu||Lock, No. 8||11|
|Warwick Knox||Hooker, Prop||10|