rugbysouthland.co.nz 23.Aug.2012Getty Images
Rutledge currently sits in equal first on 120 games, a number he shares with Stags legend Gerald H Dermody. Dermody who played for Southland between 1965 and 1977 has held the record for 35 years and was pleased to see it going to someone else “35 years is a long time”.
Long time team mate and current member of the Stags forward coaching setup Clarke Dermody who incidentally is Gerald’s nephew has played alongside Rutledge in many of his 120 games and was full of praise for his mate Cabbage. "I played with a lot of people during my career, few have had the drive and passion that Jase has. Anything he has achieved has been through hard work and commitment. Congrats on this record Cabbage you deserve it”
The irony is should Dermody not have departed the deep south in 2007 for a successful stint in the Northern Hemisphere it may have been him surpassing his Uncle Gerald.
Rutledge’s 13 year career with the Stags has seen its fair share of highs and lows with two lengthy stints on the sideline due to injury being among the lows and two Ranfurly Shield tenures being amongst the highs.
He has fought back from adversity many times in his career including a series of head knocks while still at High School which caused him to miss 3 seasons of Rugby. Again in 2008 things looked bleak after being told he was the third ranked hooker in Southland but Rutledge simply put his head down and worked hard ending the season as Stags player of the year an honour he shared with fellow hooker David Hall.
Many in the South considered Rutledge a worthy contender for the All Blacks third hooking role during the past few seasons, he captained the South team in the revived North South concept earlier this year as well as bringing up his 50th appearance for the Highlanders.
Rutledge like Dermody before him comes from a proud Southland Rugby family with his All Black Father Leicester pulling on the maroon jersey 113 times for Southland.
Rutledge a plumber by trade is a hard worker both on and off the field and along with his brother Callum is installing a new temporary/removable toilet block at Rugby Park for the upcoming season.