Berry heads for Ellis Park
Berry heads for Ellis ParkSHARE
SA Referees have appointed Stuart Berry to the return promotion-relegation match between the Lions and the Southern Kings at Ellis Park on Saturday.
With so much at stake for both teams and their immediate futures, it is probably the moist difficult match in South Africa this year – huge responsibility for the referee and a great compliment to Berry.
The Lions won the first match in Port Elizabeth and have a seven-point advantage going into this match, but the Kings are certainly not out of the race. Because of the bonus point which they gardered in Port Elizabeth they need to win by eight points or more at Ellis Park to retain their place in Super Rugby.
Winning would mean for the Lions that they are back where they have been since the start of Super Rugby in 1993 when the Lions as Transvaal won the competition, then the Super 10.
Durban born and based, Berry, who turned 31 in June, made a name for himself on the IRB's Sevens circuit, refereeing Finals two years in a row. He then established himself as a Currie Cup and a Super Rugby referee. Earlier this year he refereed the match at the Junior World Championship that decided which team would be relegated, a similar sort of match as Saturday's but with nothing like the intensity and scrutiny that accompanied the first promotion-relegation leg in Port Elizabeth and will be repeated at Ellis Park. It is a match as tough as it gets and as such takes courage to referee.
To help him Berry has Jason Jaftha and Marius Jonker, both referees he knows well, having travelled overseas with both – on IRB Sevens duty with Jaftha and for Tests in North America with Jonker. The TMO is Shaun Veldsman, the most experienced in South Africa.
Lions vs Kings at Ellis Park
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha, Marius Jonker
TMO: Shaun Veldsman