Stalwart of scrum Dermody calls time

One of Southland's best rugby products has called it quits.

Former All Black prop Clarke Dermody told The Southland Times yesterday he had played his last game of rugby and was now looking forward to settling down in Southland with his young family.

Dermody racked up a remarkable career which included playing for every New Zealand age-group rugby team before going on to play three tests for the All Blacks in 2006.

He also played 90 games for Southland in a career which stretched from 2000 to 2007. In the latter part of his days playing for the Stags he captained the side.

The former Southland Boys' High School pupil also played 44 games for the Highlanders before heading to Europe in 2007 to join the London Irish club.

Dermody quickly won plenty of praise overseas as he went on to be named the club's captain and play more than 100 games for London Irish.

The 32-year-old told The Southland Times yesterday his retirement was two years earlier than he had planned, but it had been forced upon him.

Dermody had back surgery two years ago and has since struggled to get through games.

Rather than jeopardise his health, Dermody felt it was best to hang up the boots.

"I'd like to be able to play with the kids, I don't want to be hunched over.

"I've seen guys that have gone on until 36-37. Some of them are all right, but a majority are not the best. Especially in the front row," he said.

"It's pretty hard to think I'll never play again because that's what I've done since I was 4, I've played rugby. And I've played professionally for 12 years.

"It's hard to think I won't play again but you've got to do what's right for the body and the family as well."

The carrot was dangling in front of Dermody to return home and line up for Southland in 10 more games to bring up 100 caps for the province, but he has now had to let go of the prospect of joining that prestigious club.

"It would have been nice to get 100 games for the Stags but, you know, it just wasn't to be."

The Southland Times