~ 1976 ~ NPC

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)
Rodney Dawe
Main ground:
Victoria Square, Westport
Cardinal and Blue


Sat 15 May 2:30 pm H Representative East Coast 33 - 04
Mon 07 Jun 2:30 pm H Div2 Sth-NPC Nelson Bays 09 - 14
Sat 03 Jul 2:30 pm H Representative Western Samoa 10 - 24
Wed 21 Jul 2:30 pm H Div2 Sth-NPC Mid Canterbury 06 - 07
Sat 31 Jul 2:30 pm A Div2 Sth-NPC West Coast 06 - 16
Sat 14 Aug 2:30 pm A Seddon Shield Marlborough 06 - 14
Sat 21 Aug 2:30 pm H Div2 Sth-NPC South Canterbury 14 - 07
Sat 28 Aug 2:30 pm H Seddon Shield Nelson Bays 12 - 19
Sat 04 Sep 2:30 pm H Representative Canterbury B 03 - 14
Sat 18 Sep 2:30 pm A Div2 Sth-NPC North Otago 06 - 19


The 1976 season saw the most far reaching change ever in the Organisation of New Zealand Rugby, the first National Championship.

For the first time in New Zealand Rugby, opposing teams and referees could come from any part of the country and names, which had formerly been no more than that, were to become regular opponents of Buller both on Victoria Square and on the tours which were to become an integral part of Buller’s season.

Although the National Championship brought many benefits to New Zealand Rugby, it spelled the end in many ways of Unions such as Buller as major forces in New Zealand Rugby.

From the inception of the National Championship, players with talent and ambition began to feel it necessary to move to First Division Unions to be noticed and, indeed, in the last decade few All Blacks have been selected from the ranks of Second and Third Division teams, even though many of these players began their careers in such areas.

The big have got bigger and better while for Unions outside the First Division core, life has become even more of a struggle.

In tune with this major change in 1976, Buller Rugby, too, went from Strength to strength. Again a 50% win/loss record was achieved and for the second season in a row a credit balance of points was achieved.

There was another international visitor. This season Western Samoa were the visitors as the New Zealand Rugby Union had not yet reached its policy of regarding overseas teams as mobile cash registers and restricting them to “major” centers, Again, the strength of the Buller team was based on the Ngakawau Club, especially in the backs where what had become the “Old Firm” of Gilbert, Ireland and Morgan continued to scintillate.

Veteran Gerald Hart took his points tally for Buller well past the 300 mark, reaching this landmark in the first game of the season against East Coast.

Brian Morgan reached 50 games for Buller in the fixture against West Coast while John Gilbert needed only one further appearance to reach that milestone at the end of the season.

Apart from the visit of the huge Western Samoan team, the season highlight was undoubtedly the Seddon Shield victory over Marlborough .

Alas, in what was beginning too become something of a pattern. Buller lost the Shield on the first defence to Nelson-Bays.

Matches played were:

v East Coast at Westport Won 33-4
v Nelson-Bays at Westport Lost 9-14
v Western Samoa at Westport Lost 10-24
v Mid-Canterbury at Westport Lost 6-7
v West Coast at Greymouth Won 16-6
v Marlborough at Blenheim Won 14-6 {Seddon Shield}
v South Canterbury at Westport Won 14-7
v Nelson-Bays at Westport Lost 9-12 {Seddon Shield}
v Canterbury XV at Westport Lost 3-14
v North Otago at Oamaru Won 19-6

Scorers were:
v East Coast: Charlie Neighbours; (2 tries), Alan Ireland (try), Richard Banks (try) Calvin Cochrane (try), Gerald Hart (3 penalties, 2 conversions) ,
v Nelson-Bays: Calvin Cochrane |(try), Gerald Hart (penalty, conversion)
v Western Samoa: Brian Morgan (try), Rex Mumm (2 penalties)
v Mid-Canterbury: Gerald Hart (:2 penalties)
v West Coast: Paddy Alexander (try), Alex Fussell (try), Gerald Hart (2 penalties conversion)
V Marlborough: Brian Morgan (2 tries), Gerald Hart (2 penalties)
V South Canterbury: Tony Mundy (2 tries), John Dickson (try), Gerald Hart (conversion)
v Nelson-Bays: Calvin Cochrane (try), Gerald Hart (2 penalties, conversion)
v Canterbury XV: Gerald Hart (penalty)
V North Otago: Tony Mundy (2 tries), Lindsay Kearns (try), Tom Aldridge (penalty 2 conversions)