Former All Blacks flanker Jerry Collins has died along with his wife in a tragic car crash in France on Friday.
SANZAR Chief Executive, Greg Peters, issued the following statement in the wake of the news that Collins and his partner, Alana Madill, have passed away.
"Jerry Collins is an undisputed legend of the game for Wellington, the Hurricanes and the All Blacks. He inspired all of those around him with his passion and love for the game throughout a highly decorated career for club and country.
"A complex character who was sometimes misunderstood, Jerry was a wonderful person who will be sadly missed by all who knew him.
"Thoughts and prayers go out to both he and Alana's family and especially to their young daughter who is bravely fighting for life.
"Rest in peace JC, as the rugby world mourns and remembers one of its greats."
Based on reports in the French media, Collins and his partner died instantly in the incident in the French region of Hérault. The couple's three-month-old baby, Ayla, is in a critical condition after being airlifted to a hospital in Montpellier.
According to French newspaper Le Figaro, the accident happened at 04:30 local time. The circumstances around the accident are still unclear.
Collins represented the All Blacks in 48 Tests between 2001 and 2008, including three tests as captain. The 34-year-old also played 85 Super Rugby matches for the Hurricanes and made 47 provincial appearances for Wellington.
Collins has been on the books of Pro D2 club Narbonne since January as medical cover for former Wallaby back-row Rocky Elsom.
Before joining Narbonne Collins had not played professional rugby since finishing a stint with Japanese club Yamaha two years ago.
He also played for Toulon in the 2008/09 season and the Ospreys from 2009 to 2011.