Back at the Clubs

Stuart Berry returned to the club scene this weekend after a two year break to referee the Collegians v Old Boys game. Last week he refereed his first match at Vodacom Super Rugby level when he took charge of the Cheetahs vs Western Force game.

Last week was your first Super Rugby game between the Cheetahs and the Force, how did it go?
Certainly wasn't the easiest game to have refereed first up, but happy to have one under the belt and have experienced super rugby now.

The first penalty you gave was against Pocock, how was the rivalry between Pocock and Brussow during the game?
The great thing about reffing at that level is that great players make for great games. Pocock and Brussow are two of the best in the business, and it was a pleasure having them on the field. They need some managing on field, but it's humbling having such class players on the field contributing to a game that you are controlling.

In the end the score was really tight and a decision could have changed the result, where you happy with your first game?
Overall happy with the outcome. I think that the dominant team on the day won, and that the game was within the super rugby mould to date. In review, I certainly could have looked at a strong management approach to try and deal with the scuffles.

Now that you have your first Super Rugby game behind you, it is great to have you reffing a Fidelity Security MoorCup club rugby game this weekend between Durban Collegians and Varsity College Old Boys.
I haven't done a club game in over 2 years now, barring club champs last year, so I'm excited to get back to the club game again and see what it's like. I learnt my trade as a ref during club rugby in KZN, so it has contributed hugely to where I have managed to get to now.

Do you enjoy reffing club rugby?
I enjoy reffing any rugby level really.

How different is the game at a club level?
Obviously slower than a super rugby game, and your tolerance levels need to be moulded back to a club level to ensure that you give what the game needs.

What is the importance of club rugby for South Africa?
It is very important, and the Varsity Cup has shown that that level requires attention and is also hungry for attention. The club structure is not really too different from the varsity structure, and so the blue print is there to follow.

Chris Micklewood