Dermody is a good southern man and had a remarkable playing career which included playing for every New Zealand age-group team before being named in the All Blacks and playing three tests in 2006. He is also a former Southland captain and played 92 games for the Stags and 44 for the Highlanders. He was also appointed as the Southland assistant coach for 2014 ITM Cup Season after assisting the Highlanders coaching staff on a part-time basis during the 2014 Investec Super Rugby season.
Head Coach Jamie Joseph commented, “last year Clarke volunteered his services and travelled from Invercargill to assist us with our scrum, this wasn’t ideal for either his coaching or the players development – against the best teams our scrum came under pressure. I am confident with Clarke’s appointment and the recruitment of extra stocks in the front row we can significantly improve our scrum over the coming months”.
The appointment of Dermody coincides with a redefined role for Jon Preston in the coaching team. Highlanders General Manager, Roger Clark, said “Jon will work as the Highlanders High Performance Coach with a focus on individual skill development of Highlanders contracted players in addition to developing talented youngsters within the Highlanders Region”.
Both roles are effective immediately.