Otago Daily Times

High­landers as­sis­tant coach in line for step up

RUGBY

- STEVE HEP­BURN Sports · College Sports · Rugby · Super Rugby · Rugby Union · New York Yankees · Southland Region · New Zealand · Japan · London Irish RFC · London · English Premiership · Highlanders · Roger Clark · New Zealand national rugby union team

FOR­MER South­land and All Black prop Clarke Der­mody is climb­ing the coach­ing tree and could be the next High­landers coach.

Der­mody brought up his 100th game as a High­landers as­sis­tant coach in the first match of this year’s Su­per Rugby Aotearoa com­pe­ti­tion.

Now he looms as the next cab off the rank after Tony Brown.

High­landers chief ex­ec­u­tive Roger Clark said this week it was hoped when Brown fin­ished his job as head coach in 2022 and re­turned to help Ja­pan for the Rugby World Cup the fol­low­ing year, Der­mody might be ready to take the step up.

Der­mody had made some real progress as a coach and worked well with the play­ers, Clark said.

Brown said ear­lier this week Der­mody had de­vel­oped into a top line for­ward coach and had rapidly im­proved the High­landers for­ward pack in the later stages of the Su­per Rugby Aotearoa com­pe­ti­tion.

He had taken over the coach­ing of the for­ward pack when Mark Ham­mett in­di­cated he was mov­ing on at the end of the sea­son.

Der­mody is into his sec­ond year as the co­coach of the Tas­man Mitre 10 Cup team. He works with An­drew Good­man as a coach­ing team.

Riki Flutey will be the skills and at­tack coach for the High­landers while the fran­chise is look­ing for a de­fence coach and Clark said they would be go­ing to the mar­ket to get the right per­son.

The fran­chise may also look at get­ting spot coaches in from time to time. A spot coach is a spe­cial­ist coach who may come in to work on an as­pect of the game for a short pe­riod of time.

Der­mody (40) played for the

High­landers from 2004­07 as a prop and also played three tests for the All Blacks in 2006. He made 89 ap­pear­ances for South­land.

He then headed over­seas to play for Lon­don Ir­ish for a few sea­sons in the English Premier­ship but re­turned home due to a back in­jury.

Der­mody then took a break from the game be­fore be­ing asked by High­landers coach Jamie Joseph to come up and help the High­landers scrum in 2014.

He has been with the fran­chise ever since and has slowly be­come part of the fur­ni­ture in the High­landers coach­ing setup over the past few sea­sons.

The High­landers will not as­sem­ble for pre­sea­son train­ing un­til the new year. Play­ers will not be fin­ish­ing the do­mes­tic com­pe­ti­tion un­til the mid­dle of next month at the ear­li­est and un­der the play­ers’ col­lec­tive agree­ment will then be on leave for a pe­riod.

The full struc­ture of next year’s Su­per Rugby com­pe­ti­tion has yet to be re­vealed but it is likely to start at the end of Fe­bru­ary or even mid March and will in­volve ini­tially just New Zealand teams, be­fore tak­ing on Aus­tralian teams in a form of play­offs later on.

That all de­pends on the sit­u­a­tion with bor­ders and quar­an­tine.

 ??  ?? Clarke Der­mody
Clarke Der­mody

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