Competition pacesetters Wanganui were forced to struggle for their 21-19 win by Thames Valley in Mitre 10 Heartland Rugby on Saturday.
Thames Valley scored three tries to two but it was the experienced goal-kicking boot of Craig Clare with a conversion and three penalty goals made the difference for his side.
Buller captain and halfback Andrew Stephens marked his 100th game for the side by scoring a try in the battle of the Coast which Buller won 34-19 with James Lash also contributing 19 points with 2 conversions, four penalty goals and a dropped goal.
North Otago 31 (Dan Lewis 2, Lemi Masoe, Mika Mafi tries; Lewis 4 con, pen)
Mid Canterbury 25 (Maleli Sau 2, Sam Finau tries; Jarred Percival 2 con, 2 pen)
Poverty Bay 5 (Isaia Vuki try)
Horowhenua Kapiti 39 (Willie Paia’aua 2, Trent Reti, Nathan Kendrick, James So’oialo tries; So’oialo 5 con, 2 pen)
South Canterbury 42 (Marac Beckham, Miles Medlicott, Kieran Coll 2, Nick Strachan, Vatiliai Tora tries; Willie Wright 6 con)
King Country 36 (Reese Macdonald, Dean Church 2, Alex Thrupp, Stephen Turner tries; Macdonald 2 con; Keiron Rollinson 2 con, pen)
Thames Valley 19 (Aaron Carrol, George Lelenoa, Rory Maloney tries; Jarrod Goodall 2 con)
Wanganui 21 (Timoci Seruwalu, Kaveni Debenaise tries; Craig Clare con, 3 pen)
Wairarapa Bush 36 (Eddie Cranston, Tavita Isaac, Soli Malatai, Chris Raymond, Inai Katia tries; Tim Priest 4 con, 1 pen)
East Coast 10 (Parekura Lalaga try; Krris Palmer con, pen). HT:
West Coast 19 ( Steve Soper, Maleli Mudu, Brad Tauwhare tries; Reekie 2 con)
Buller 34 (Andrew Stephens, Jeff Lepa, Joshua Tuidriva tries; James Lash 2 con, 4 pen, dropped goal)