Huge turnout for Collins tribute march
Narbonne - Late All Black great Jerry Collins' tragic death in a car crash on
Friday was marked by a silent march by around 1 500 people in the
southern French city of Narbonne, whose rugby team he played rugby for,
Collins, 34 and his partner Alana Madill died instantly
on Friday in the crash in southern France and their baby daughter Ayla
is in a critical but stable condition in hospital.
The marchers -
which included Collins's cousin and fellow All Black now Toulon star
Chris Masoe among their number as well as some of his Narbonne
team-mates - walked in silence behind a giant photograph of the
48-times capped flank along with his girlfriend and daughter.
was asked to say a few words and with his voice choked with emotion was
only able to say "Thank you to everybody." Many of his fellow mourners
preferred to keep their thoughts to themselves rather than speak to the
Lots of those present were dressed in the
second tier club's colours of orange and black with some laying bouquets
of flowers at the base of the photograph which was placed outside the
Known as the 'human wrecking ball' Collins played
the game with a smile on his face. Numerous tributes have been paid to
him since the accident that saw a bus crash into his stationary car near
On Friday his former team-mates at three-time European
champions Toulon wore black armbands during the 33-16 French
championship semi-final loss to Stade Francais - which was preceded by a
minute's silence - while their backrow forward Masoe dyed his hair
peroxide blond like Collins did for a "pint of Guinness" look.
Masoe himself also wore a message on an improvised wristband reading; "RIP JC - Love you brother."
Saturday at Perpignan a match that was due to be a testimonial match
for Samoan Henry Tuilagi, who is retiring after eight seasons with the
historic French club, was turned into a tribute to the late flank with
all the ticket receipts going to Collins's family.