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05th Nov 2015

Rugby World Cup winners pay this touching tribute to All Blacks teammate killed in a crash (Pic)

Kevin Beirne

Those New Zealand boys are alright.

Between Sonny Bill Williams, Beauden Barrett and Nehe Milner-Skudder, the New Zealand rugby team are winning over fans with their humble attitude after beating Australia to retain the William Webb Ellis trophy.

The All Blacks returned to New Zealand on November 4 – the day that would have been the 35th birthday of former All Black Jerry Collins.

Capped 48 times as a Kiwi, Collins was well-known and liked on these shores. He spent two seasons in Wales with the Ospreys, but it was his time in Devon which stands out for most.

Following the 2007 World Cup, Collins was holidaying in the south of England when he was spotted by the coach of local rugby team Barnstaple, who asked him to come down to the team’s next match. Collins agreed and surprised the team by taking them for a training session.

When it was over, club members thanked him and asked if there was anything they could do to repay him, to which Collins replied that he would like to play a match for the team.

The next weekend, he lined out for the club’s second team against another local side Newton Abbot. He continued his connection with the club by wearing their socks as he lined out for the Barbarians invitational team later that year.

Collins and his partner were tragically killed in a car crash in June of this year, but with this tribute his former teammates showed that he was gone but not forgotten.

Dan Carter, Jerome Kaino, Ma’a Nonu, Sonny Bill Williams and Liam Messam all made the trip to Collins’ grave in Porirua, just north of Wellington.