SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL Stuart Berry has been appointed referee for Saturday’s Pro14 semi-final between Leinster and Munster, the tournament organiser announced today.
Berry, who has been a frequent presence in the Pro14 this season, will be assisted by Welsh touch judges Ben Whitehouse and Craig Evans. The SRU’s Neil Paterson will work as the TMO.
Berry, 35, will be the first SARU official to take charge of a Pro14 knockout fixture. The Durban native previously refereed 30 times in Super Rugby, but courted controversy in that time. In 2016 the Cheetahs filed a formal complaint against Berry for his performance in their loss to the Sharks in Durban. Two years earlier, the Reds left Johannesburg with a particularly sour taste in the mouth after they finished with 13 men in a penalty-riddled loss to the Lions.
In Friday’s semi-final, John Lacey will head an all-Irish officiating crew for defending champions Scarlets’ trip to Glasgow. Andrew Brace and Frank Murphy will assist from the sidelines with Olly Hodges in the TMO box.
Meanwhile, Ulster’s crucial Champions Cup playoff match against Ospreys on Sunday will be under the watch of Marius Mitrea with fellow FIR man Gianluca Gnocchi and Scotland’s Mike Adamson on the touchlines. Andrew McMenemy (SRU) sits as TMO.
“I would like to congratulate John Lacey and Marius Mitrea on their selections and also acknowledge Stuart Berry’s achievement in refereeing a Final Series game in his first season with the Guinness PRO14,” says the Pro14′s elite referee manager Greg Garner.
“The South African expansion has been a success, not just with the teams involved but with the addition of match officials such as Stuart to our ranks.”