Shaun Edward Berne
Shaun Berne was a clever, tactically astute inside back who followed in his father John’s footsteps to wear Wallaby gold.
Born and bred in Sydney, Berne played his first rugby aged 12 at fly half for the Coogee Seahorses however his school, Marcellin College, only offered rugby league. Nonetheless, Berne represented Australia at the U16s level on the 1995 rugby tour to New Zealand before he finished his schooling in the 1st XIII at Marcellin.
Unlike his dad, Berne’s cross-rugby pedigree was welcomed at Randwick and a first-grade debut alongside selection for Australian U19s followed in 1998. Berne attended his first aged level World Championship in 1999 when selected alongside fellow future Wallabies Nathan Sharpe, Phil Waugh, David Croft, Steve Kefu and Matt Dunning for the U21s tournament held in Argentina. He then left Australia for England, played two seasons with Bath and while in the U.K. earned selection for the Barbarians. Unfortunately, a broken ankle against Leicester, in what was his final game, saw him miss the southern winter season of 2001.
In 2002, Berne made his debut off the bench for New South Wales in their 18-43 loss to the New Zealand Maori at the Sydney Football Stadium. A year later, Berne wrote himself into Waratah lore when, after a “wonderful game” he converted a final minute, “gravity-defying” 48-metre penalty goal into a strong wind to secure the home side a dramatic 34-31 victory over the Crusaders. The following season was just as memorable as Berne captained Randwick to a 35-22 win over Eastwood to secure the Shute Shield premiership, won the Galloping Greens’ Best and Fairest award and found himself named in the Wallabies’ end-of-season Spring Tour squad. While Stephen Larkham and Elton Flatley were preferred at number 10 for the internationals, Berne made his Australian debut against the French Barbarians in Paris.
Berne returned to England in 2006 when he re-joined Bath before he enjoyed success with Leinster (2010-11 Heineken Cup Champions) and then Italy’s Calvisano (Top Ten Champions 2011-12). After his playing career ended, Berne went on to become head coach at both St. Mary’s College, Dublin and the Coolmine RFC. He returned to Australia in 2017 and held attack coach positions with the Western Force (2017), the Melbourne Rebels (2019-21), and the Wallabies (2019).
Berne played one uncapped match for Australia, the 45-15 win over the French Barbarians at Stade Jean Bouin in Paris.