Dermody happy with year     20 Jun 2006

The Southland forward made headlines last month when he was named by All Blacks coach Graham Henry in the squad to tackle Ireland in the recent two-Test series.

Since then Dermody has impressed with solid on-field performances including a try in his second match at Auckland's Eden Park.

Speaking after his side's 27-17 series-clinching victory, Dermody said he had been surprised by how much of a step up Test rugby was from the
Rebel Sport Super 14 competition.

"I have learnt a lot. I thought I was better tonight for last week," he said.

"Just the pace of the game and the physicality of Test rugby, I think Ireland brought a lot to the table in that respect."

Next Tuesday Henry names a squad of 30 players for the upcoming Philips Tri-Nations series and Dermody is praying he has done enough to be selected.

"I think I progressed from last week and I'm happy with that and maybe given more of a chance I will be able to go up another step," he said.

"That [the Tri-Nations] is the next step for me and to get in that, I would be over the moon."

Dermody concedes that 2006 has surpassed his wildest expectations and says with a baby expected in August, things are only looking up.

"My wife's pregnant and due in August so I'd say it's going to get even better," he said.

"It has been a big year and hopefully I can get a foot in the door and the World Cup next year could be even bigger."