Credits: BBC Sports
Former All Black Jerry Collins and wife Alana Madill have died in a crash in France, with their daughter, Ayla, in a critical condition in hospital.
Collins, 34, made his debut for New Zealand in 2001 and won 48 caps. The ex-Ospreys flanker had been playing for French side Narbonne.
Collins, a tough-tackling blind-side flanker, was called the “Jonah Lomu” of forwards by World Cup-winning England scrum-half Matt Dawson, in a reference to the former New Zealand wing.
Collins started his career at Wellington in the National Provincial Championship. Renowned for his bleach-blonde hair and ferocious tackling, he made his All Blacks debut against Argentina in Christchurch in 2001. He also captained them three times and played for New Zealand at the 2003 and 2007 World Cups.
His last match for the All Blacks was the 2007 World Cup quarter-final loss to France in Cardiff.
Collins quit international rugby in 2008 and went on to join French Top 14 side Toulon before moving to Wales to play for Ospreys in 2009.
He was his own man, a true individual and a giant of the world game.
Collins also played for Super Rugby side Hurricanes. They held a minute’s silence before Friday’s game against the Highlanders in Napier.
Samoa-born Collins spent two years in Japan playing for Yamaha Jubilo from 2011-2013, before joining French second-tier side Narbonne in January 2015.
Collins famously turned out for Barnstaple’s second XV against Newton Abbot while on holiday in Devon.
The couple’s car was in collision with a bus near the southern town of Beziers in the early hours of Friday.
The All Blacks said they were “shocked and saddened” by the news.
The long-term manager of Collins, Tim Castle, said in a statement the family were “distraught at the death of a much-loved son, brother and friend, and his partner Alana, whom I got to know recently”.
Wales and Ospreys scrum-half Rhys Webb said it was “devastating” to hear of the death of “a true rugby legend”.
Radio New Zealand news editor Tony Vale told BBC Radio 5 live that the club were “still trying to come to terms with the news”.
Condolences from the Mixfm Team to the Collins family and a speedy recovery to their little daughter Ayla. #Legend #RIP