~ 1972 ~

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

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Founded 1894 – (affiliated NZRU 1894)
Ian Mercer
Dinny Moyinhan
Main ground:
Victoria Square, Westport
Cardinal and Blue


Sat 27 May 2:30 pm H Rundle Cup West Coast 07 - 04
Mon 05 Jun 2:30 pm H Representative Match Nelson Bays 15 - 13
Sat 17 Jun 2:30 pm A Rundle Cup West Coast 06 - 13
Sat 01 Jul 2:30 pm A Ranfurly Shield North Auckland 35 - 00
Sat 15 Jul 2:30 pm H Representative Match Mid Canterbury 23 - 07
Sat 05 Aug 2:30 pm A Seddon Shield West Coast 10 - 13
Sat 26 Aug 2:30 pm H Seddon Shield Marlborough 16 - 18
Thu 14 Sep 2:30 pm H Representative Match Otago 09 - 18


1972 was a hectic season in Buller Rugby. The Buller team with Bill Mumm and John Hunt back at the helm as selector and coach was revitalised.

Tries became worth four points each. The knock-on law was changed. Gaps appeared in the line-out. Buller won then lost the Seddon Shield. The combined Buller-West Coast team defeated Australia as the Australians mounted a less than memorable campaign in New Zealand and Buller challenged a North Auckland team then at the pinnacle of its prowess for the Ranfurly Shield.

Eight matches were played in total by Buller, of which five were won including the Seddon Shield challenge against West Coast, although their trophy was narrowly lost, 18-16, in the first defence against Marlborough.

This season also saw the first appearance of what was to become probably the best inside back combination fielded by Buller.

John Gilbert was making the half back position his own and Brian Morgan was playing excellent football at second five-eighth while newcomer, Alan Ireland slotted in at first five-eighth to begin what was to become a remarkable partnership over many games for Buller.

Apart from the Seddon Shield victory, the other highlight of the season was the victory of the combined Buller-West Coast team (containing ten current, and one former, Buller players) over the touring Australian team.

The Australians found it impossible to foot it with the local team as the ground became wetter and wetter as the game went on as the first rain for some time became so heavy the ground at Victoria Square was said by one writer to have become a quagmire.

The team was captained by Orlando Nahr, just reward for a long and distinguished career, and also included Joe Syron, Roy Galway, Brian Phillips, Alex Fussell, John Gilbert, Alan Moseley, Brian Stack, and Gerald Hart, while Brian Morgan took the field as a replacement and former Bullerite, Frank Jack also played as a representative of West Coast.

Hart kicked four penalties in the combined team’s 15-10 victory.

Many people believe that accounts of the conditions at Victoria Square that day were wildly exaggerated and some claim that the ball was actually seen to bounce at least twenty feet in the air from the rock-hard surface and that the Australians were literally left in the Combined team’s dust.

Whatever the conditions, however, the final result is what really mattered and at the end of the day there was no denying that Buller-West Coast had scored 15 points while Australia had scored only 10. It was, indeed, a famous victory.

What is certain, however, is that when Buller played North Auckland, Okara Park, in Whangarei, was nothing more or less than a mud heap. This game although lost by Buller 35-0 is remembered for the “Going boot” affair.

Sid Going the current All Black halfback stepped out of his boot as it stuck in the mud. When he turned round to retrieve it, the boot was nowhere to be seen.

Rumour has it that a certain well-known veteran lock seized on the opportunity to take home at least one souvenir from the Far North and if the Ranfurly Shield was not available to be taken home an All Black’s boot would do instead.

Matches played were:

v West Coast at Westport Won 7-4
v Nelson-Bays at Westport Won 15-13
v West Coast at Greymouth Won 13-6 {Seddon Shield}
v North Auckland at Whangarei Lost 0-35 {Ranfurly Shield}
v Mid-Canterbury at Westport Won 23-7
v Marlborough at Westport Lost 16-18 {Seddon Shield}
v Otago at Westport Lost 9-18

Scorers were:

v West Coast: Brian Morgan (try), Gerald Hart (penalty)
v Nelson Bays: Brian Morgan (try), Harold Pablecheque (drop goal), Gerald Hart (try, 2 conversions)
v West Coast: Brian Morgan (try), Alex Fussell (try), Gerald Hart (penalty,conversion)
v North Auckland: No scorers
v Mid-Canterbury: Brian Phillips (2 tries), Brian Stack (try), John Dickson (try), Alan Moseley (try), Gerald Hart (penalty)
v West Coast: Brian Stack (try), John Dickson (try), Gerald Hart (penalty, conversion)
v Marlborough: Brian Stack (try), John Gilbert (try), John Dickson (try), Gerald Hart (2 conversions)
v Otago: John Gilbert (try), Gerald Hart (penalty and conversion)