Jerry Collins, partner killed in car crash

Former All Blacks enforcer Jerry Collins and his partner have been killed in a car crash in France.

Agence France-Presse reports that local officials said they were killed on Friday when a bus crashed into their car in southern France.

Samoa-born and Wellington-raised Collins, 34, who was capped 48 times for New Zealand, was near the town of Beziers when his car came to an unexplained stop, before being hit by the bus.

The couple were also travelling with their baby daughter, who survived the accident but is in a serious condition, the officials said.

Collins, a cousin of former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga, made his All Blacks debut in 2001 and played his last Test when losing to France in the 2007 World Cup quarter-finals.

The All Blacks official website describes the loose forward as one of New Zealand’s most feared enforcers.

“Collins was one of the toughest and most uncompromising forwards to ever play for the All Blacks and his ferocious tackling and intimidating presence made him feared by every opponent,” the tribute says.

Collins returned to rugby earlier this year after signing with French second division club Narbonne, replacing injured Australian Rocky Elsom.

He had retired from the game two years earlier when finishing up with Japanese club Yamaha.

Around that time he found himself incarcerated briefly in a Japanese police cell after being arrested in an upmarket department store for carrying two knives.

He was released after agreeing to pay a fine of 150,000 yen (about $NZ1900).

Collins told Campbell Live he got into a misunderstanding with a local gang believed to be made up of Brazilian expats and was carrying the knives because he feared for his life.

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