Back injury ends Clarke Dermody's rugby career

TRIUMPHANT: Clarke Dermody being carried from the field when he played his last game for Southland in 2007.
TRIUMPHANT: Clarke Dermody being carried from the field when he played his last game for Southland in 2007.

Clarke Dermody is after a job and he hopes it can be within rugby circles.

The former All Blacks prop has revealed in today's Southland Times that he has played his last game of rugby.

He has lowered the curtain on a remarkable career which included playing for every New Zealand age-group team before going on to play three tests for the All Blacks in 2006.

The former Southland captain, who played 90 games for the Stags, had been playing in Europe since 2007 with the London Irish club.

He returned home to Invercargill on Friday ready to settle with his young family.

Dermody said he had returned to no car, house, or job and it was a matter of starting afresh.

His son Carter will start at a new school soon and his wife Sarah is looking at business opportunities, while Dermody contemplates what's next for him.

"I would like to stay in rugby if I can. Obviously professional jobs coaching aren't that frequent over here, I would have to be pretty lucky, but I feel as though I've got a fair bit of knowledge to pass on.

"If that worked out it would be nice, otherwise I'll be looking for a 9 to 5 job somewhere," he said yesterday.

Dermody felt a role working as a scrum coach would be an ideal starting point to step into the world of coaching and hoped something could eventuate along those lines.

Given the wealth of frontrow knowledge sitting on their doorstep it would be a surprise if Rugby Southland did not tap into Dermody's knowledge with some sort of role to help with the development of the likes of young props Tuki Raimona and Aston Talaia.

Dermody said they did a lot of things differently at scrum time in England compared to New Zealand, and while he did not believe they were always right he said it had broadened his understanding of how the setpiece operated.

Dermody had originally planned to play two more seasons before calling time on his career but a continuing back problem has forced him into retirement earlier.

The good aspect was that he was now able to get back to Southland and settle with family at home where he and his wife can bring up son Carter and daughter Maggie in New Zealand.

"It's huge for the family, I know the grandparents never said the whole time we were away that they wanted us home, but when I said we were coming home they were stoked. They said they'd been waiting for this for five years.

"It's great, Carter's got his cousins around now and it's only Maggie's second time home.

"It's great in that aspect, we were always going to come home but, like I say, it was probably two years earlier than first thought," he said.

With Dermody now officially retired he can reflect on what has been an impressive career at all levels and agreed yesterday it was something he was proud of.

"I've got no real regrets, I've played for pretty much every New Zealand team I could. I played for the Baa-baas, that was a good thrill and a great trip as well, and as you said, I've played all around Europe now so, yeah, I'm pretty happy with what I've done."


5. February 20, 2004 Dermody joined the Super Rugby ranks when he made his debut with the Highlanders in the round one 39-8 win over the Reds in Invercargill. He entered the game from the bench, replacing Carl Hoeft in the front row.

4. September 22, 2007 For the final time Clarke Dermody leads the Southland team out on to Rugby Park before jetting off to Europe to play for London Irish. Southland won the national provincial championship game against Manawatu 30-11 and Dermody marked the occasion with a try.

3. November 4, 2007 Dermody played his first of over 100 games in the London Irish jersey when he turned out against the Ospreys. Unfortunately it was a tough day, with London Irish going down 51-16.

2. July 19, 2000 As a 20-year-old, Dermody played his first of 90 games in the Southland jersey when he started at prop in a national provincial championship pre-season game against Otago in Invercargill. Otago won the game 33-20 with wing Alex Talea scoring two tries for the Stags.

1. June 10, 2006 He joined the All Blacks ranks when he made his test debut against Ireland in Hamilton. The All Blacks won the game 34-23 with Dermody starting on the loosehead side of the scrum with his Highlanders team-mate Carl Hayman on the tighthead side. In the next test against Ireland seven days later Dermody also got a start and scored a try in the 27-17 win.

The Southland Times