South Canterbury secure Lochore Cup
It may have taken four attempts but South Canterbury have won the Lochore Cup after defeating Buller 17-10 in Timaru on Sunday.
Fortunately for the boisterous home crowd, fullback Liam Edwards, the competition's lead try-scorer, found his groove with the kicking tee in the second half, adding 12 points to give push his side ahead by a converted try.
Asked what had helped them to overcome their previous failures, Edwards said: "Definitely the home crowd. And I think we were definitely better prepared this time.
"We had a good feed before the game and a solid build up."
Coach Chester Scott will heap praise on his bruising pack, which stood firm at the breakdown and set-piece when Buller came knocking at their door.
No 8 Kali Latu was threatening with ball in hand and was supported well by the likes of Sam Vea and Nick Strachan.
With a five-point cushion, courtesy of a late try to second-five Penjamini Nabainivalu, Buller went into the sheds feeling a little lucky after struggling to gain possession and territory.
Overplaying their hand at times, they put themselves under pressure and would have paid for their mistakes if South Canterbury executed their plays with better accuracy.
"There were some kicks I probably should have got but I thought tactically we played well and stayed down the right end of the field," Edwards added.
George Folau was denied his moment of glory by some sloppy running from his support that obstructed the defence.
Buller then dodged a second bullet when,after sprinting 70 metres to score, Edwards was left shaking his head as the TMO found a knock on in the lead up.
That would have doubled his opening try, scored on the back of a chip kick by wing Folau inside the attacking 22.
It opened the door for Buller to hit back and they did just that when Nabainivalu drove through the tackle of his opposite to slam that ball down.
Coach Scott suggested that having the wind at their backs in the second half may be an advantage. And that proved to be true for Edwards who atoned for a poor first-half with the tee by slotting four penalties in quick succession, one from almost 60 metres out.
South Canterbury: 17 (Liam Edwards try; Liam Edwards 4 pen) Buller: 10 (Penjamini Nabainivalu tries; William Saukuru pen; Andrew Stephens con) HT: 5-10