Heartland Championship Week 3
September 3, 2022, 2:30 pm
48 - 20
Poverty Bay RFU
Poverty Bay RFU
Referee: Mike Lash

Match Report

Outgunned by strong Buller

A HUNGRY Buller bounced back from a mauling the previous Saturday to outmuscle and outplay Poverty Bay 48-20 in their Week 3 Heartland Championship game in Westport.

“They won the physical battle on attack and defence,” Civil Project Solutions Poverty Bay Wekas head coach Miah Nikora said.

“You can have all the systems in place but if you don’t win the physical battle, then it is unlikely that you will win the game.”

Buller ran in seven tries to Poverty Bay’s three in an impressive response to their 71-10 thumping from North Otago in Week 2.

The visitors started strongly in a match that was screened live on Sky TV and Prime.

The Bay’s forward pack made a powerful statement in an early scrum to win a penalty.

But it was Buller who opened the scoring with a ninth-minute penalty to first five-eighth Jack Parker, who was a stand-out with his vision and astute kicking game, which gained the home side valuable field position.

In the 19th minute, after the Bay defence had repelled the southerners on a couple of occassions, quick ball movement saw Buller winger Miteili Kaloudogibeci sprint down the sideline and smash through the gutsy tackle attempt of winger Ricardo Patricio, who was giving away plenty of kilograms.

Bay fullback Moses Christie nearly put his side on the board when he secured a high ball and weaved through the defence only for his pass to an inside man with the line in sight to be ruled forward by referee Mike Lash.

From the enusing scrum, the Bay forward pack pushed Buller off the ball and won a penalty, which Christie knocked over.

Buller responded with two tries. They found a big hole in the Bay defence up the middle for the first then produced a brilliant attacking move involving a chip kick, a good bounce of the ball, then a superb kick from Parker for centre Michael Stringer to win the race to the ball.

The Bay’s first try came from a scrum five metres from the tryline — halfback Mario Counsell firing the ball to second five Mitch Purvis, who sailed across the line.

Christie converted but shortly before halftime, Buller winger Iliesa Tora secured a four-try bonus point and Parker kicked the extra points to give them a 29-10 lead at the break.

The Wekas needed to score first in the second half. They didn’t. Buller added to their tally a minute after the restart when lock Te Puoho Stephens crashed through, and Parker added the trimmings.

Down by 26 points, the Bay needed something special to get back into the game.

Christie delivered it. From a Buller kick out of their danger zone, Christie received the ball and went on the counter, scything through the defence on a lengthy run, then offloading to centre Ted Walters for the five-pointer.

It was a classic example of the the Bay’s attacking prowess but there was not enough out of it and Buller exposed defensive frailties too often.

They replied to the Walters try with two of their own including the individual try of the week (and possibly the year) when barnstorming centre Stringer ran 80 metres, outpacing and stepping his way through multiple PB players.

It was followed by some quick thinking from Parker, who put a pintpoint cross-field into the hands of Kaloudigibeci, who strolled over for his second try.

PB were well down but not out.

They battled the full 80 and were rewarded when impressive replacement prop Jordan McFarlane showed the pace of a back in a 25-metre run to the line.

A disappointed Nikora gave credit where it was due.

“They were pretty dominant in terms of the way they carried on in attack and they way they defended.”

Nikora said the team would be working hard on what went wrong.

“It was disappointing. I thought we had a good (build-up) week. It’s hard to pinpoint what went wrong.”

The Bay have five days to sort it out for the biggest match of their championship so far.

All roads lead to Rugby Park this Saturday when the Wekas take on neighbours Ngāti Porou-East Coast in a highly anticipated local derby at which the Osborne Taonga — held by the Bay — will go on the line.


Name TR CON PEN DG Cards
1532 Dan Law (c)
6 1
8 1 1
1541 Tulsa Kaui
14 1


Name TR CON PEN DG Cards
1427 Lance Dickson Shayde Skudder
1517 Jordan McFarlane James Higgins
1552 Braedyn Grant Mario Counsell
1512 Jacob Leaf Mitchell Purvis
1481 Toru Noanoa Tulsa Kaui
1549 Adriaan Brits Fletcher Scammell
1551 Matt Te Rangi Rutene Ricardo Patricio
1525 Kesomi (Niko) Lauti Keanu Taumata