7 Jun 2015

Tributes paid to Jerry Collins

5:51 pm on 7 June 2015

Sports commentator and Collins family friend Ken Laban said the many tributes paid to the former All Black reflected the high regard in which he was held.

Jerry Collins fends off the tackle during a match against South Africa in 2006.

Jerry Collins fends off the tackle during a match against South Africa in 2006. Photo: AFP

The former All Black and his partner, Alana Madill, were killed on Friday when their car collided with a bus on a motorway in France.

The couple's four-month-old daughter, Ayla, was also in the crash, and was taken to hospital in Montpellier in a critical condition, but a family spokesperson said had improved.

Laban said it had been devastating for the families and tragic for rugby to lose a player so young.

He said the Samoan rugby community in Wellington was remembering a man who always had time for his club in Porirua.

"So he'd play in front of 20,000 people on Friday night and turn out in front of 200 people on Saturday afternoon, jump on a plane Sunday morning with the All Blacks and turn out for a test match against South Africa."

Laban said Collins' commitment to rugby at all levels was consistent throughout his career.

Stadium name change proposed

The mayor of Porirua said serious consideration was being given to a bid to change the name of one of the city's sports grounds in honour of Jerry Collins.

A Facebook page calling for Porirua Park to be renamed after Collins has already received more than 4,000 likes.

Porirua mayor Nick Leggett said there should be a permanent memorial for Collins in the city, and the idea of renaming the park was a good one.

He said he would be discussing the plan with Collins' family, but in the meantime said a remembrance book for Collins had been started in the city for people to sign, and a more permanent memorial would be established.

The remembrance book has been opened at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua under a photo of Collins.

Mr Leggett said Collins was a Porirua boy through-and-through, and would be well remembered for his character as well as his rugby ability.

"The book has been put where people can go and sign it, that will be presented to his family.

"I think that the city will want to recognise Jerry at some stage in the future when it's more appropriate in a more permanent way and that conversation will obviously happen over the coming weeks and months."

Fund set up for Collins' daughter

A give-a-little fundraiser has been set up to support Ayla.

At 11.30am today nearly $3000 had been raised.

The project's organiser Derek Handley said the fund was in honour of Collins for his daughter's future.

He said the money raised would be put in a trust to help cover her needs as she grows up.

Click here to donate to the Jerry Collins Memorial Fund

Jerry Collins announces his retirement from first-class rugby in 2008.

Photo: PHOTOSPORT

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