Buller, Wanganui in Meads final
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.