Wanganui win Meads Cup
Wanganui stamped their authority as the powerhouse of the Heartland Championship with a fifth Meads Cup win, albeit by the closest of margins. The Butcher Boys however took 75 minutes to get past a brave Buller outfit 30-28 at Cooks Gardens.
In fact, the country’s smallest union had two late chances to send the game into extra time but the usually reliable left foot of James Lash pushed both attempts wide. Three weeks earlier, Wanganui had beaten Buller 28-0 but the final was a totally different affair, with Buller dominating at times. Only twice in 11 years have the Butcher Boys not appeared in the championships finale.
Sadly for Buller, it was their second loss in three years in the end of season show piece. For Wanganui captain Peter Rowe had a strong game in his last outing for the province. Rowe said neither side left anything out on the paddock and he congratulated Buller for their efforts.
“We just kept believing. It was everything a final should be.” Lock Gavin Thornbury impressed in the pack as did No.8 Malakai Volau.
In the backs wing Te Rangatira Waitokia looked dangerous at times, while the experienced Lindsay Horrocks and veteran Craig Clare delivered when it mattered. Buller’s best were loose forwards Daniel Hytongue and Blair McIlroy, while 42-year-old prop Phil Beveridge never took a backward step.
SCORERS: Wanganui 20 (Gavin Thornbury, Craig Clare tries, Clare 2 con, 2 pen) Buller 18 (Anthony Tailua 2, James Lash 2 con, pen) HT:10-10.Stuff