Buller, Wan­ganui in Meads fi­nal

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Ti­maru: The coun­try’s smallest union Buller will take on de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Wan­ganui in the fi­nal of the Heart­land Cham­pi­onship. A brave Buller out­fit upset South Can­ter­bury 16-6 in Ti­maru while Wan­ganui had too much class for a plucky Wairarapa Bush, win­ning 58-26. It will be Wan­ganui’s ninth Meads Cup fi­nal since the cham­pi­onship be­gan in 2006 and they are hot favourites to add a fifth ti­tle at Cooks Gar­den. In the Lo­chore Cup semi­fi­nals (for fifth to eighth place), North Otago stunned top qual­i­fiers Mid Can­ter­bury with a 36-24 vic­tory.

North Otago will travel to Te Kuiti to take on de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons King Coun­try, who had a hard­fought 48-26 win over Poverty Bay af­ter be­ing up 20-0 early. Buller coach Craig Scan­lon was de­lighted with the win.

“It was a gutsy ef­fort, es­pe­cially in de­fence. I never thought we would be able to hold South Can­ter­bury to one try,” he said. “I am very proud of the boys.” South Can­ter­bury coach Barry Matthews said Buller de­served their win.

“Buller played to their strengths and took their op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“That’s the way of semi­fi­nal rugby, what hap­pens in the past doesn’t count.” In Wan­ganui the classy hosts put in a burst of 32 unan­swered points in 12 min­utes, mid­way through the first half, to burn Wairarapa Bush.

Af­ter that both sides scored 26 points but the game was gone. Wairarapa Bush Josh Syms said they went to Wan­ganui with high hopes but in the end didn’t have the fire­power to chase the game. Stuff

Buller’s Jo­sua Tu­driva on at­tack yes­ter­day.

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