Ref from ‘Rassie-gate’ takes home top award

Last year, Australian ref Nic Berry stated that Rassie Erasmus caused his reputation “immeasurable damage” by producing his controversial video after the first British & Irish Lions Test.
In the video, Erasmus pointed out 26 incidents in which he felt the officials had made the incorrect decisions, while suggesting that Berry had also shown disrespect towards captain Siya Kolisi.
An independent misconduct committee ultimately found that behaviour displayed by Rassie Erasmus towards match officials during this year’s Test series between South Africa and the British & Irish Lions officially constituted misconduct.
As part of the judgement after World Rugby issued a charge of misconduct, Erasmus was suspended with immediate effect from all rugby activities for two months, which has since elapsed.
In addition, he has been suspended from all match-day activities (including coaching, contact with match officials, and media engagement) with immediate effect until 30 September, 2022
The ruling also includes “a warning as to his future conduct and an apology to the relevant match officials”. As part of the ruling, which implied Erasmus had threatened Berry, testimony from the Australian official was also taken into account.
However, Berry has now walked away with the 2021 Roger Vanderfield Referee of the Year award, which 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 picked up the award for the second time in his career, having also been named Australia’s best referee in 2019.
Berry officiated in the both the Super Rugby AU and Super Rugby Trans-Tasman season. After this, the former player took charge in the 2021 British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa before officiating in both the July and October Test windows.

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