Buller perform admirably against Mid Canterbury
Buller courageous in Hanmer
Hanmer turned on a summer’s day, more akin to cricket playing than 80 minutes of full on rugby, on Saturday when the Francis Mining Buller team took on Mid Canterbury. Played at the Hanmer Springs Sports Field conditions couldn’t have been more perfect for the game.
This was Buller’s first representative match of the season, while Mid Canterbury were having their second game, having drawn with South Canterbury 31 all last Saturday.
In the words of the great All Black captain, and hooker, All Black No 871, Sean Fitzpatrick, “It was a game of two halves.” Mid Canterbury cut lose in the first half, with Buller having an equal share of the second half points wise.
The whole match was one of attack, defend, and counterattack as both sides ran the ball back hard at their opposition. Buller’s problem in the first 40 minutes was the lack of hard rugby over the past three weeks, and this saw them missing tackles, losing the ball in turnovers and early lineout misses. Gifting the ball to Mid Canterbury gave them a chance to set their attacking players away which resulted in five tries being scored plus two conversions.
The opening 10 minutes saw both sides go close to scoring before the Man of the Match, Mid Canterbury No 8 Seta Koroitamana, scored the first of his three tries. Coming off the back of the scrum he was too strong close to the line and couldn’t be stopped. The scrum was a result of Buller’s player of the game”, fullback Alex Paterson, holding up the Mid Canterbury winger Raitube Vasurakauta over the line stopping him from scoring. Vasurakauta was a thorn in Buller’s side all game, creating many chances with his pace and ability to break tackles.
From the kickoff it was the Vasurakauta / Koroitamana show again as the winger beat the Buller tacklers down the left flank, off loaded 20 metres out to Koroitamana who strolled over again. Two conversions to these tries saw Buller down 14 – 0 and having to strengthen up. Unfortunately, the Buller tackling, or lack of it, contributed to the third try against them as this time it was the left winger Tait Chisman who broke five attempted tackles to score. When second five eight Paovale Sofai scored Mid Canterbury led 24 – 0 and the Buller lads were shell shocked.
At this stage Buller then had its best period on attack with Gabba De Kock, Anthony Ellis and Stephen Crackett doing a lot of the ball carrying. Half back Thor Manawatu was giving his five eights Jesse Pitman – Joass and Alex Lean some quality ball and it was Lean who benefitted from this to put his team on the board at the 37 minute.
With half time about to blow Mid Canterbury again scored when the No 8 Koroitamana came off a scrum, drew the fullback and off loaded to his halfback Tyler Blackburn to score. Half time blew with Mid Canterbury up 29 -5 and looking totally in control.
The Buller supporters hadn’t returned to their seats as the second half started when Mid Canterbury scored again. Buller’s clearing kick saw the Green and Golds win their lineout, Koroitamana made a clean break and when Paterson made the tackle Sofai was on hand to get his second try. With McCloy’s conversion it was 36 -5 and disaster looming.
Buller reserve prop Jack best had joined the game at this point and his hard edged, up the middle running, along with Anthony Ellis, Gabba De Kock, and Zach Walsh suddenly had Buller on the front foot. Buller debutant winger Jesse Forsyth made several useful breaks with one resulting in Kahu Parata making a final pass to Ellis to score by the posts. Manawatu converted and the score was 36 – 12 with Buller finding a second wind. De Kock went over from a Pitman – Joass break, only to be denied by a touch judge call, and then the Buller “catch up” style fell apart as handling mistakes took the edge off their come back. A third Buller try was scored by Zack Walsh next to the posts, with the handy conversion killing all the worms near it as the ball never got off the ground.
It was Mid Canterbury though who had the last say, right on fulltime, when that man, Koroitamana, scored his third try, again from a scrum, with the final score being 41 -17.
Buller coach, Gus Martyn, was pleased with the way his side handled their attacking phases after not having any rugby for three weeks. He also said another positive was nine players making their First-Class debuts for Buller.
Referee K Faalogo – Mid Canterbury.
Next weekend Francis Mining Buller head to Timaru to meet South Canterbury.
Mid Canterbury tries to Seta Koroitamana 3, Paovale Sofi 2, Tyler Blackburn, Tait Chisman. Nathan McCloy 3 conversions.
Buller tries to Alex Lean, Anthony Ellis, Zach Walsh. Thor Manawatu conversion.
Buller Player of the Day Points.
3. Alex Paterson.
2. Gabba De Kock.
1. Jack Best.