Michael Collins eyeing opportunities in Wales
Auckland - Blues utility back Michael Collins has signalled a possible
return to Wales at the end of his Super Rugby contract in Auckland next year.
Collins, 25, who played 16 games for the Scarlets in
2015/16, told The Rugby Paper that he will assess his options at the end of
Queenstown-born Collins, is eligible to be considered for
selection for either England or Wales. His English connection is through his
mother and the Welsh choice is due to his Llanelli-born grandfather. He has
played for New Zealand Secondary Schools and New Zealand U20.
All four Welsh regions are likely to be interested in
attracting Collins. The Cardiff Blues have already expressed an interest in him
along with several English clubs.
Collins' preference would be to return to the Scarlets.
"The Scarlets are all I know in Wales so you are more
comfortable going back to what you are familiar with," he said.
"I will catch up with Wayne Pivac for a beer while he
is back home in New Zealand, but I am sure all the other regional teams have
their bonuses too."
Pivac is coach of the Llanelli-based side and a frontrunner
to follow Warren Gatland as coach of Wales after next year's Rugby World Cup.
"For me it will be about going to a team where I will
fit in and get game time," added Collins.
"I've got some really good mates at the Scarlets in the
likes of James Davies, Dylan Evans and Steff Evans.
"My granddad is a passionate Welshman so I grew up with
a bit of Welsh culture hanging over me. Having played over there for a year
it's given me the ambition to represent Wales.
"I am a Kiwi and I've always dreamt of playing for the
All Blacks, but at the moment I've got more of an ambition to play for Wales
rather than New Zealand."
Having Gatland's son Bryn in the Blues squad had seen him
trying to get more information from him.
"The reason I stayed in Super Rugby was to try and
develop as much as I can so that if I ever get the chance to play for Wales, or
a Welsh region, I will be a much better player," said Collins.
"I was pretty close to heading back over to the
Scarlets in 2016, but Tana Umaga gave me a call and said there was a spot
opening up at the Blues."