Australian referee Nic Berry, a central figure in the controversial ‘Rassiegate’ saga, has been named winner of the 2021 Roger Vanderfield Referee of the Year award.
The award is given to one of Australia’s national referees who demonstrates the highest standard of officiating throughout the year and is considered to be a role model to the game.
Berry, who took charge of the first Test between the Springboks and British & Irish Lions in Cape Town last year, was the subject of an hour-long review video made by Rassie Erasmus.
During the video, Erasmus accused Berry of being disrespectful towards Bok captain Siya Kolisi and pointed out potential wrong decisions the referee made during the first Test.
The video went viral on social media, but earned Erasmus a citing by an independent committee. Erasmus was later in the year handed a two-month ban from all rugby and also given an eight-month ban from match-day activities.
Berry picked up the award for the second time in his career, having also been named Australia’s best referee in 2019. Along with participating in the Lions series, he officiated in the both the Super Rugby AU and Super Rugby Trans-Tasman season, as well as in the July and October/November Test windows.
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