Jerry Collins: tributes pour in for New Zealand rugby star and his wife

hellomagazine.com

The world of rugby is in mourning after the untimely death of former All Blacks star Jerry Collins and his wife Alana Madill. The couple were tragically killed in a car crash in France, which has left their three-month-old daughter Ayla in a "critical condition" in hospital in Montpellier.

Jerry, who played for New Zealand 48 times during his international career, was reported to have collided with a bus on the A9 in the Herault region in the early hours of Friday morning.

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Former All Black star Jerry Collins and his wife Alana have died in a car crash in France



The All Blacks official Twitter account expressed the team's "shock and sadness" at the news, as they remembered one of New Zealand's toughest and most uncompromising forwards.

A number of leading names from the sport have also paid tribute to the 34-year-old. "So so SAD… Can’t believe that Jerry Collins and partner Alana died in car crash in France – RIP," wrote Ben Cohen.

"Just read about Jerry Collins & family!! In shock! Thoughts with all the family #greatbloke," Mike Tindall posted on Twitter.

Welsh captain Sam Warburton also remembered the 'inspirational' player. "What a huge loss. Inspiration to many young players growing up including myself. RIP Jerry Collins and his wife Alana. Best wishes baby Ayla."

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The 34-year-old was capped 48 times for New Zealand



Matt Dawson wrote: "Terrible news about Mr & Mrs Jerry Collins. Jerry was the @JONAHTALILOMU of the forwards. A rugby inspiration of his time. #lifesoprecious."

Jerry, who was renowned for his bleach-blond hair and tough tackling, made his NZ debut in 2001. He captained the side three times and represented New Zealand at the 2003 and 2007 rugby World Cups. His last match for the All Blacks was the 2007 World Cup quarter-final loss to France in Cardiff.

He announced his international retirement in 2008, but continued to play at club level; in January 2015 he signed up to play for the French side Narbonne.