SA’s Berry to blow the whistle at PRO14 semifinal
While the Cheetahs and Southern Kings will be left looking on from the sidelines this weekend, there is still some South African interest in the final stages of the PRO14.
Stuart Berry has been appointed to referee the all-Ireland PRO14 semifinal between Leinster and Munster in Dublin on Saturday.
He will be the first South African match official involved in a major playoff match in northern hemisphere club rugby.
The Cheetahs were knocked out of the competition when they were beaten by the Scarlets, while the Kings ended bottom of Conference B with just one win from 21 games.
Experienced Irishman John Lacey will handle the other semifinal, between Glasgow and the Scarlets at the Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow, at 8.45pm (SA time) tomorrow, and Marius Mitrea (Romania) will referee the Champions Cup playoff in Belfast between Ulster and Ospreys on Sunday.
Berry was one of three South African referees who officiated in the first season of Guinness PRO14 rugby, the others being Quinton Immelman and Cwengile Jadezweni, who made his debut with the whistle in the match between the Southern Kings and the Cheetahs late last month.
Apart from 33 Super Rugby matches as referee, Berry has handled 12 PRO14 matches this season.
SA Rugby referee manager Banks Yantolo said: “Stuart has been a very loyal servant to SA Rugby and has been refereeing for more than 15 years.
“This appointment, in his first year of officiating in PRO14, is something all of us at SA Rugby are extremely proud of and we wish him well for what promises to be an uncompromising semifinal and Irish derby.”
Four South African referees, Immelman, Jadezweni, Fhatuwani Rasivhenge and Egon Seconds, have been nominated to take charge of the forthcoming Africa Gold Cup test matches.
They will referee in the nine tests between Kenya, Morocco, Namibia, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe from June 16 to August 18.
The matches will be played in Windhoek, Harare, Nairobi and Kampala.
Jadezweni has also been appointed to referee the Elgon Cup test between Uganda and Kenya in Kampala on May 26.