Basic errors cost South Canterbury in final
South Canterbury coach Chester Scott says it was a "gutting" feeling walking away from his first season in charge of the South Canterbury rugby team without some national silverware.
South Canterbury lost the Lochore Cup final 31-28 to Buller, at Victoria Square in Westport yesterday.
In a season where they looked like bolters for a tilt at the top-tier Meads Cup crown, a third runners-up finish in the second-tier Heartland competition in five years and sixth overall in Heartland rugby was not the desired finish to 2012.
"Of course it's gutting because the boys have worked hard, our management team, coaching staff and the South Canterbury community have got in behind us, so of course it's disappointing," Scott said. "The thing about the Lochore Cup is that 11 other sides want it as well and you have to turn up on the day."
Two tries from wing Liam Edwards had South Canterbury on the front foot early but after a strong opening 20 minutes, South Canterbury's errors were feasted on by a Buller team determined to win some national silverware for the first time in front of a passionate home crowd.
"We settled into the game quite well, probably better than what Buller did," Scott said.
"What came to haunt us was our basic errors. They [Buller] feed well off errors.
"They didn't create a lot but they do feed off errors and are a great counter-attacking team."
No 8 Kali Latu was a damaging ball-runner throughout and his try late in the piece was deserved but made the scoreline flattering to South Canterbury.
Scott said his side did not adjust to referee Kane McBride's interpretation of the breakdown which resulted in a number of penalties.
West Coast No 10 Marty Banks kicked four penalties as a result in the first half.
The 20-year-old did a fine job steering Buller around the park and his accurate punting kept South Canterbury pinned in their own half when they had to chase points.
Scott said his team's 46 tries and victory over Meads Cup champions East Coast in the round-robin this season, showed the potential the team had for next year.
"It has been very positive because the boys are starting to enjoy their rugby and they're starting to play a nice style of rugby but it's also very frustrating at times."
Buller co-coach Craig Neill said his team's first try to right wing Andrew Norton-Taylor was "the real game-changer" because it allowed his team to get within one point of South Canterbury on halftime.
"To have our heads held a bit higher heading into the sheds was great because the team felt they had only just started to play some decent rugby in the 10 minutes before halftime."
AT A GLANCE Buller 31 (Andrew Norton-Taylor, Pene Nabainivalu, Iliasa Namua tries; Marty Banks 4 pen, 2 con) South Canterbury 28 (Liam Edwards 2, Kali Latu tries; Edwards 3 pen, 2 con). Halftime: 19-20.
The Timaru Herald