Former New Zealand rugby player Collins dies in car crash

Wellington, June 5 (IANS) Former New Zealand rugby player Jerry Collins and his wife Alana have died in a car crash in France.

A bus collided with their car, and their two-month-old daughter survived but is in serious condition, reports on Friday.

34-year-old Collins made his debut in 2001 and won 48 caps. The flanker had been playing for French side Narbonne.

The New Zealand national rugby union team, officially nicknamed the All Blacks, said on Twitter that they are “shocked and saddened” by the news.

“We are shocked and saddened by reports about the accident involving Jerry,” All Blacks tweeted.

Rodney So’oialo, who played alongside Collins for the All Blacks, tweeted, “Very sad day to hear a team-mate, and our very good friend Jerry Collins has passed.”

England’s 2003 World Cup-winning winger Ben Cohen tweeted, “So so sad. Can’t believe that Jerry Collins and partner Alana died in car crash in France – RIP.”

Collins started his career at Wellington in the National Provincial Championship as well as playing for the city’s Super Rugby outfit Hurricanes.

Renowned for his bleach-blonde hair and tough tackling, he made his All Blacks debut against Argentina in Christchurch in 2001.

He captained the side 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.

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