The sporting world has paid tribute to former New Zealand rugby union player Jerry Collins after he was killed in a car crash in France on Friday morning.
Collins, capped 48 times for the All Blacks, was reported to have collided with a bus on the A9 in the Herault region. His wife, Alana Madill, was also killed in the accident, and his three-year-old daughter Ayla has been taken to a hospital in Monpellier in a “critical condition”.
The All Blacks’ official Twitter account expressed their shock and sorrow at the news, with Collins fondly remembered as one of the most intimidating men to pull on the All Blacks jersey during his international career from 2001 until 2008.
We are shocked and saddened by reports about the accident involving Jerry.; All Blacks (@AllBlacks) June 5, 2015
Former All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick admitted that Collins' death was "very tragic news" and revealed that that player he managed with the New Zealand Under-21s was "as tough as nails on the field and as loving and caring off the field."
Listen to Sean Fitzpatrick's tribute below:
When Collins left New Zealand in 2008 he joined Toulon before moving on to the Osprey's in 2009, where he played alongside former Wales and British and Irish Lions prop Adam Jones.
"When he signed there was a massive buzz," Jones told Sky Sports News. "He was an icon of the game. He was a good guy, a little bit made, a little bit crazy, but he was all about the team and all about the boys really. It was an honour to play with him."
Listen to Adam Jones' tribute below:
A number of other leading names from the rugby world sent their messages of condolence to Collins’ family and friends, and wanted to express just how nice a man Collins was off the pitch.
So so SAD..... Can't believe that Jerry Collins and partner Alana died in car crash in France - RIP; Ben Cohen (@RugbyBenCohen) June 5, 2015
So so saddened about the news of Big JC and his wife dying in an accident in France. I always left laughing after any interaction with him; Lote Tuqiri (@LoteTuqiri) June 5, 2015
Very sad news this morning about Jerry Collins. Tragedy. Thoughts are with all of his family and friends. Top bloke when I've met him.; Tom May (@TomMay1) June 5, 2015
Terrible news about Jerry Collins & his wife in France. Thoughts are with his family.; Brian O'Driscoll (@BrianODriscoll) June 5, 2015
Tragic news regarding iconic All Black Jerry Collins and family. Our thoughts are with all affected by the accident. pic.twitter.com/A9slqfp6MR; Bath Rugby (@bathrugby) June 5, 2015
All Black legend. Son of Samoa. Rest in alofa uso. Manuia lau malaga. #JerryCollins; fuimaono-sapolu (@Eliota_Sapolu) June 5, 2015
So saddened to hear about the death of Jerry Collins and his wife.Thoughts with his family & friends. Gone but never http://t.co/xzIWjmNGIT; Harlequins (@QuinsRugbyUnion) June 5, 2015
We're extremely saddened to hear about the death of former @AllBlacks Jerry Collins. Our thoughts are with his family & friends at this time; Saracens Rugby Club (@Saracens) June 5, 2015
Really sad to learn what hapenned to Jerry Collins, his wife and daughter! All my thoughts go to their family! #RIPJerryCollins; Thierry Dusautoir (@TitiDusautoir) June 5, 2015
What a huge loss. Inspiration to many young players growing up including myself. RIP Jerry Collins and his wife Alana. Best wishes baby Ayla; Sam Warburton (@samwarburton_) June 5, 2015
Collins played in both the 2003 and 2007 Rugby World Cups, as well as against the British and Irish Lions in 2005 when the All Blacks asserted their dominance over the Northern Hemisphere sides to win the series 3-0 - Collins was a notable performer.
He had been signed by French side Narbonne in January this year after previous spells with Toulon, Ospreys and Yamaha Jubilo as well as playing for Wellington and the Hurricanes in New Zealand.
The Hurricanes have announced that they will hold a minute's silence before their game against the Highlanders in Napier later today, and the squad will wear black armbands during the match.Reuse content