Australian match official Nic Berry is set to take charge of his 50th Harvey Norman Super Rugby game on Saturday night, taking control of the Trans-Tasman clash between the Waratahs and Hurricanes on Friday night in Sydney.
One of Australia’s most capped Super Rugby officials, Berry made his officiating debut in South Africa in 2016, taking charge of the Stormers v Sunwolves in Cape Town. This marked Berry’s return to professional Rugby after retiring in 2012.
A leading official on the World Stage, Berry was a regular at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan and was rewarded for continually strong performances in Harvey Norman Super Rugby AU, taking the whistle for the 2021 Final between the Brumbies and Reds.
"It’s been a privilege to have been involved with rugby for as long as I have. Though most of my experience to date has been as a player, I’ve greatly enjoyed the challenges that match officiating has presented. To have been appointed to fifty Super Rugby matches is something I am proud of," Berry said.
"Being appointed to referee in the Six Nations, Rugby Championship and at the Rugby World Cup are to date some of the highlights of my career. I have no doubt that the recent Super Rugby final between the Reds and the Brumbies is something I will remember for a long time as well.
"I’m incredibly grateful to my friends and family who have supported me through the journey as both a player and official. Without their help, I wouldn’t be in this position today," Berry said.
As the new competitions continue to provide opportunities for Australian referees, Rugby Australia’s Director of Rugby Scott Johnson was happy with the recent achievements from his match officials.
“Nic is on his way to becoming one of the most decorated referees nationally, and I commend him on his journey so far and reaching the 50-cap milestone.
“As a former player, he has a unique insight into the game and an understanding of what the players are trying to achieve, helping his decision-making during matches.
“Nic, like all of the other members of our team, are role models for hopeful referees, and they have all proven their ability with several debuts and milestones occurring throughout the 2020 and 2021 season.”
“Our focus doesn’t just lie with the players, and I think the performances from all of our Super Rugby referees demonstrates the new direction we are taking in officiating the game.”
Despite the setbacks in professional Rugby due to the competition’s suspension in 2020, Australian match officials have been allowed to continually progress through the introduction of Harvey Norman Super Rugby AU and Trans-Tasman.
“I think we have built a lot of depth in our current crop of referees, and the officiating space is looking excellent for the future with the individuals we have in this team,” National Match Official Manager Scott Young added.
“The two recent competitions have prepared our officials well and I’m eager to see them appointed by World Rugby for international matches towards the backend of the year.”
Berry won’t be the only Australian referee taking part in the 2021 Harvey Norman Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition, with Amy Perrett, Graham Cooper and Damon Murphy remaining within the squad. Angus Gardner will also return from injury to take charge of his first professional match in 2021.
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