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    Mallett: Berry was shocking

    2014-03-24 07:47
    Cape Town - The Reds are right to fume about the performance of referee Stuart Berry during their loss to the Lions, according to rugby pundit Nick Mallett.

    The Lions beat the Reds 23-20 in a Super Rugby match at Ellis Park on Saturday after trailing 20-3 at one stage.

    The match would, however, not only be remembered for the Lions' spirited fightback but also for the influence Berry had in the match.

    The Reds were on the wrong side of his whistle as they were severely penalised in the second half.

    The result left Reds coach Richard Graham frustrated.

    "The penalty count was 19-4 against us, I don't think I've ever been involved in a game where the penalty count has been like that," Graham told SAPA.

    ''Certainly we will be speaking to Lyndon Bray, the referees boss to get clarification.

    "It was extremely frustrating, at 20-3 we were certainly good enough and we should have gone on with it but with that penalty count against you it makes it extremely difficult."

    The game swung in the Lions' favour 10 minutes from time when James Hanson was shown a yellow card in the 70th minute before Jake Schatz joined him in the sin-bin four minutes later.

    And Mallett, speaking on SuperSport after the game, agreed that the performance of Berry was questionable.

    "Stuart Berry spent his entire second half looking only at the Reds," said Mallett.

    "I have to agree with Naas (Botha), who has just said that the Lions haven’t always got the referee decisions in the past but they got it all in one game today. The Reds have every reason to feel aggrieved.

    "My feeling was that Berry was very flustered in the end and that he was only looking at the Reds errors. He penalised the Reds with four minutes to go at scrum, which was never a penalty. He then allowed a skew lineout throw with two minutes to go and gave a try when the grounding was inconclusive.

    "It was a shocking performance," concluded Mallett.

    Berry also came under fire last week when he, along with the same TMO Johan Greeff, allowed the Lions a controversial try in their narrow win over the Blues.

    SANZAR afterwards issued a statement that the try should not have been awarded.

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