Buller have continued their unbeaten run and all but guaranteed a home Meads Cup semifinal after they beat another of this season’s big movers Horowhenua Kapiti 19-12 in Westport on Saturday.
James Lash added three penalty kicks to his first half try as the home team saw off Horowhenua Kapiti’s second half comeback after leading 10-0 at the break.
Buller sit five points clear of Poverty Bay, who continued their strong run and moved up to second on the table with a 35-29 win over King Country in Gisborne.
The home side scored five tries to two, with Brynn Uriarau getting a double, but could not easily shake their opposition as Whakataki Cunningham converted both visitor tries and slotted five penalties.
Still getting a bonus point, King Country stay five points clear of Wanganui in the final Lochore Cup playoff spot, leaving Wanganui in dire straits as King Country are most likely to pocket another five points when they play East Coast next week.
North Otago also stay ahead as they continue their late season revival by upsetting South Canterbury 22-19 in the local derby, which was played in Dunedin.
Both teams scored three tries with Ben Palmer’s penalty being the deciding points, with the loss dropping South Canterbury to third spot behind Poverty Bay.
Mid Canterbury were the latest side to put a whipping on the hapless East Coast, scoring 10 tries in a 67-12 destruction in Ruatoria.
Peni Manumanuniliwa grabbed a double while Murray Williams had a profitable day from a try, penalty and seven conversions.
In the other game, Wanganui’s upcoming opponents Wairarapa-Bush emulated West Coast by getting a first win of the competition, coming from nine points down to beat Thames Valley 20-18 in Masterton.
Scores from Round Six were:
West Coast 23 (Regan Stanton, Andrew Connors tries; Tim Priest 2 con, 3 pen) bt Wanganui 17 (Josh Hamilton, Andrew Evans tries; Ace Malo 2 con, pen)
Wairarapa Bush 20 (Ben Aoina, Sam Monaghan tries; Aoina 2 con, 2 pen) bt Thames Valley 18 (Brent Ranga, Blake Hill, Reuben Leask tries; David Harrison pen).
East Coast 12 (Kareti Palmer 2 tries; Kris Palmer con) lost to Mid Canterbury 67 (Peni Manumanuniliwa 2, Brenton Connell, Murray Williams, Andrew Smith, Nete Caucau, Willie McGoon, Jon Dampney, Davie Maw, Matt Thatcher tries; Williams 7 con, 1 pen)
Poverty Bay 35 (Brynn Uriarau 2, Sam Parkes, TK Moeke, Rico Gear tries; Clayton Kiwara 5 con) bt King Country 29 (Joe Perawiti, Rob Sherson tries; Whakataki Cunninghan 2 con, 5 pen)
North Otago 22 (Teina Sauileoge, Sale Pi’i, Don Lolo tries; Ben Palmer 2 con, pen) bt South Canterbury 19 (Telusa Latu, Sam Vea, Nick Strachan tries; Jared Trevathan 2 con)
Buller 19 (James Lash, Tai Ratu tries; Lash 3 pen) bt Horowhenua Kapiti 12 (Scott Cameron, Lennon Carrington tries; Perry Haymen pen)
Provisional table :