Buller announced themselves as the team to beat in this season’s Heartland Championship rugby competition with a come from behind 19-10 win over South Canterbury in Westport today.
Buller trailed 10-3 at halftime but rallied in the second 40, scoring 16 unanswered points to leapfrog South Canterbury into top spot on the competition ladder.
In other South Island results; Horowhenua-Kapiti raced out to an early 16-3 lead over West Coast in Greymouth but had to resist a stirring fightback from the hosts to cling on 19-17.
Mid Canterbury piled on late points to brush aside Wanganui 30-14 in Ashburton, while King Country scored a late try to steal a 17-14 win over North Otago in Oamaru.
South Canterbury coach Chester Scott said his team was outplayed by a much better Buller side.
Despite an early try to halfback Sekope Maea, South Canterbury made errors at crucial times as Buller No 10 James Lash dictated territory with a strong general kicking game with the wind at his back in the second half.
Buller co-coach Craig Scanlon said his team dominated territory and possession and only some poor decision making let them down prior to halftime.
He said he was pleased his team proved why they have the best defensive record in the competition, praising veteran openside Luke Brownlee’s performance at ruck time.