Rugby World Mourns Former All Black Jerry Collins

Reaction has poured in from the rugby world with the death of former All Blacks captain Jerry Collins, a “giant of the world game”, who died in a car crash in France. He was 34.

His wife, Alana Madill, also died while their three-month-old daughter, Ayla was airlifted to hospital in Montpeiller.

Collins’ manager, Tim Castle, led the tributes, saying: “The family and I are distraught at the death of a much-loved son, brother and friend, and his partner Alana.”

Former All Blacks captain, Sean Fitzpatrick, told BBC Radio Five: “Jerry epitomised everything a rugby player and All Blacks should be. He will be remembered fondly.

“He became an All Black at a very young age (20) and went on to wear the jersey with pride. He was as tough as old boots on the field, but a loving man and very caring off the field. He was the nicest guy you would meet, but not someone you’d want to play against. We say good men make great All Blacks and he was a very, very good man.”

Collins made his debut for the All Blacks in 2001 and won 48 caps for the side, scoring five tries during a career that saw him become one of the most feared back-rowers for his sheer strength and physicality.

Collins made his Wellington debut in the NPC in 1999, and his Wellington Hurricanes debut in 2001. He made a total of 74 appearances for the Hurricanes between 2001 and 2008.

He most recently played for Yamaha Júbilo, in Japan’s Top League and for French side, RC Narbonne.

Players past and present also expressed their shock. The Wales captain, Sam Warburton, tweeted of a player who spent two years with the Ospreys: “What a huge loss. Inspiration to many young players growing up including myself.”

The Ospreys themselves put out a statement in which they said: “He was his own man, a true individual, and a giant of the world game. Jerry made a huge impact during his short time in an Ospreys jersey and will be sadly missed by everybody in rugby, his family and friends.”

Collins was born in Apia, Samoa.

Original article by The Guardian, June 5, 2015.

Photo by Rex Shutterstock.

Tags: Alana Madill  Guardian (The)  Hurricanes  Jerry Collins  Ospreys  RC Narbonne  Sam Warburton  Sean Fitzpatrick  Tim Castle  Yamaha Júbilo  

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