New Zealand’s victorious Rugby World Cup stars paid tribute to the late Jerry Collins on Thursday — visiting his grave near Wellington with the Webb Ellis Cup.
The former All Blacks flanker, who would have been 35 on Wednesday, died tragically in June when he, his wife and young daughter were involved in a car accident in France.
— Ma'a Nonu (@maavelous) November 5, 2015
Collins was denied the chance of seeing his former teammates defend their trophy but Dan Carter, Ma’a Nonu, Jerome Kaino, Sonny Bill Williams and Liam Messam’s gesture proves he was never far from the squad’s thoughts.
“Happy belated bday to our fallen uso,” Nonu wrote on Twitter. “We love you JCterminator.”
Collins won 48 caps for New Zealand and became a hugely popular figure in the sport during spells in his homeland, France, Wales and Japan — even turning out for English amateur side Barnstaple shortly after the 2007 World Cup.
Having spent a month in intensive care following the crash, his daughter Ayla is currently recovering in Canada with family on her mother’s side.