Jerry Collins, a former captain for the New Zealand All Blacks, was born on this day in rugby history in 1980.  The flanker won 48 caps for the All Blacks and was on the 2007 Rugby World Cup side in France.

During his 7 years with the All Blacks, Collins was known as very easy going off the field but one of the fiercest hitters on the field which led to his nickname ‘hitman.’

Collins, who is a cousin of former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga, captained the side first against Argentina in 2006 and then stood in for regular captain Richie McCaw against Portugal and Romania at the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

“Jerry has been a key member of the All Blacks team for a number of years and played a major role in some of our best performances,” All Blacks head coach Graham Henry said at the time of his retirement.

All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen said: “He has always been his own man and done things his own way, and that way has served the All Blacks well over the last seven years.”

His club career has taken him all over the globe with stints at club sides Hurricanes in New Zealand, Toulon in France, Ospreys in Wales and Yamaha Jubilo, in Japanese Top league rugby.

At the end of the day, playing rugby is Collins passion.  After the All Blacks was dumped from the RWC in France he helped train Barnstaple Rugby Football Club’s junior team for a day and then suited up for the side second team against Newton Abbot.

Rugby Birthdays

1980 – Jerry Collins, New Zealand rugby union footballer