Jerry Collins dead: All Blacks, Sean Fitzpatrick and Adam Jones among those to pay tribute to former New Zealand flanker

Collins and his wife Alana Madill have been killed in a car crash that has left their 34-year-old daughter in a 'critical condition'

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The Independent Online

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.

Jerry Collins dies in car crash in France

 

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.

 

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.

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The wreckage of car belonging to rugby player Jerry Collins

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Former All Blacks flanker Jerry Collins and his partner died after their car was struck by a bus

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Emergency services at the scene of the crash

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.

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