23 August 2014
Buller 17 v 09 North Otago
The opening round of the 2014 Heartland Championship saw Buller pull off one of the biggest upsets of the competition’s history by beating North Otago 17-9 in Westport.
It was first time the country’s smallest union has beaten North Otago since the competition’s inception and also they first time they have kept them tryless.
Buller’s boilover came off the back of some very good team work and some stubborn defence.
North Otago’s penchant to giveaway penalties didn’t help their cause.
For Buller blindside Blair McIlroy was superb while first-five James Lash impressed with his all-round skills and Pene Nabainivala had a big game outside him.
They led 11-9 at the break, with Nabainivala scoring the game’s only try after 10 minutes.
Coach Craig Neill was delighted for his side.
”It was a very good effort and on the back of beating West Coast for the Seddon Shield, it has been a couple of huge weeks.”
Neill said it was a great incentive for all those playing rugby in their province.
”It doesn’t happen very often, so it is great.”
North Otago’s best were wing Sineli Koniferedi and first-five Stephen Fenemor.
Buller 17 (Penjamini Nabainivalu tries; James Lash 4 pen) North Otago 9 (Stephen Fennimore 3 pen). HT: 11-9