Tributes have poured in for the former New Zealand captain Jerry Collins, who was killed in a car accident in France on Friday.
Collins and his partner Alana Madill tragically passed away, while their young daughter is currently being treated in hospital.
“The news has shocked us all and our thoughts are with Jerry and Alana’s families at this terribly sad time. We offer our deepest condolences to them and will support them as they come to terms with this devastating news,” New Zealand Rugby General Manager Rugby Neil Sorensen said.
Jerry Collins’ long-standing manager Tim Castle, speaking on behalf of the family said: “The family and I are distraught at the death of a much-loved son, brother and friend, and his partner Alana, whom I got to know recently.
“I have been in touch with Jerry’s father Frank and other members of his family who are in Samoa at the moment. It’s obviously a terribly difficult time for them and together with New Zealand Rugby we are doing all we can to support them.
“I have also been in touch with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who are also doing everything they can to ensure that baby Ayla is getting all the care and support she needs. I am very grateful for their support.
“The family would also like to thank everyone for their messages of support and have asked for privacy at this time.”
The former All Black back-rower won 48 caps for New Zealand over seven years, as well as captaining the side, while he also featured for the Barbarians.
Collins went on to play for Toulon, the Ospreys and Yamaha in Japan, before taking a break from the game and then returning as a medical joker for Narbonne in the ProD2 at the start of this year.
The Hurricanes led the tributes to Collins prior to their match with the Highlanders.
We plan to go out there tonight and honour the hell out of Hurricane No. 82. RIP Jerry, you will always be a huge part of the Canes legacy.
— Hurricanes Rugby (@Hurricanesrugby) June 5, 2015
— Welsh Rugby Union (@WelshRugbyUnion) June 5, 2015
— South African Rugby (@bokrugby) 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
Had the privilege and honour of bleeding with him on the weekends on the field. Words cant express how sad I am brother. RIP big brother JC!
— Piri Weepu (@piriweepu) June 5, 2015
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) June 5, 2015
— Lewis Moody (@LewisMoody7) June 5, 2015
Toulon stated that they would wear black armbands for their Top 14 semi-final against Stade Français on Friday.
— RCT – RC Toulon (@RCTofficiel) June 5, 2015