Nic Berry becomes first Australian to play and referee Super Rugby

Nic BerryFormer Queensland Reds, Racing Metro, and London Wasps scrum-half Nic Berry last weekend become the first Australian to both play and officiate in Super Rugby, as he made his professional refereeing debut in the match between the Stormers and the Sunwolves in Cape Town.
Berry, who earned thirty-three caps for the Reds during his playing career, has risen through the Australian Rugby referee ranks at a rapid rate, having only first officiated BLK Queensland Premier Rugby and Buildcorp National Rugby Championship matches during 2015.

Australian Rugby Union’s National Referee Manager Scott Young said he was pleased with Berry’s first outing in the middle.

“Nic did a great job officiating his first Super Rugby match. After gaining experience as an assistant referee in a number of matches throughout the opening rounds of Super Rugby, he easily transitioned into the middle for the match between the Stormers and Sunwolves,” Young said.

Nic Berry, Gus Gardner TV screen
Nic Berry discusses a TMO clip with AR Gus Gardner,  8 APRIL 16: Photo by Carl Fourie/Gallo Images

“As a former professional player, he brings a wealth of knowledge into his new role and relates well to the players.”

While Berry’s experience as a former player assists him on the field as a referee, Young believes Berry has added a lot to the National Referee Team off the field.

“As someone who has been around professional Rugby for a long time, Nic is helping develop the right culture within our National Referee Team,” he added.

Nic only retired  from playing at the end of the 2011-12 season and then returned home to Australia, joining the ARU’s Player Match Official program. That scheme encourages past and current players to take up the whistle and use their playing experience in a refereeing capacity.

In the space of two years, Berry earned himself a position on the Super Rugby Referees panel for 2016. It is hoped that Berry’s success will motivate other young players to consider match officiating as part of their contribution to the future success of the code.