Young PMB rugby ref goes global

2009-10-08 00:00

THE International Rugby Board’s sevens circuit is said to be the world’s best party, and Pietermaritzburg’s Stu Berry has been gifted the opportunity of joining the tour for four of the stops during the 2009/2010 season.

A well-known referee in KZN, Berry has developed into one of the top referees in the country. This year has been the top-end of his career so far, with his Currie Cup debut (Lions vs Cheetahs) the first of four Currie Cup games to date for the 27-year-old Berry, one of the youngest Currie Cup referees in the history of the competition.

“This year has been a really special year for me in terms of rugby,” Berry told The Witness on Tuesday. “Having been promoted to the elite panel in SA was a great achievement at the time, and I managed to follow it up with some solid performances in the Vodacom Cup early on.

“That set me up for a Currie Cup debut at Ellis Park in round two where the Lions hosted the Cheetahs in a really good, tight game of rugby. It was special to be capped as a Currie Cup referee, and having my family and close friends there to share it with me is a special memory.

“The cherry on the top, though, is obviously having just been appointed to the IRB sevens circuit. To be able to travel the world is an awesome opportunity to experience new places and have a good time, but also to build a reputation on the international stage as a referee who can hopefully move on to fifteens rugby at Test level as well.”

Berry will be attending one of the warm-up tournaments in Singapore early next month before jetting off to Wellington in New Zealand and Las Vegas in early February, and then it’s London and Edinburgh in mid-May.

“In terms of the future, my first goal is to finish off the fifteens season here in SA with some strong performances to set myself up for the sevens trips. Looking ahead a bit, Super 14 is an obvious goal and, ideally, the 2015 World Cup would be the ultimate achievement. I know that the hard work starts now and I have never been as motivated as I currently am to do my job on the field better.”

Berry grew up in Hillcrest and moved to PMB eight years ago after matriculating as head prefect of Hillcrest High School. He studied at UKZN’s Maritzburg campus and has just completed a Masters degree in hydrological science. However, he owns his own events company, Impi Concept Events, which is well-known amongst adventure sports participants in the province.

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