New Zealand
Collins family focuses on baby Ayla
ESPN Staff
June 6, 2015
New Zealand flanker Jerry Collins charges at the Australian defence during the rain-soaked Tri Nations clash with Australia, New Zealand won the game 26-12. New Zealand v Australia, Tri Nations, Eden Park, July 21 2007.
Jerry Collins attacks the Australia defence © Getty Images
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The three-month-old daughter of All Blacks loose forward Jerry Collins and partner Alana Madill who were killed in an accident in France, remains in a very serious condition. Collins, 34, and Madill died in a car accident in the south of France on Friday, and their daughter Ayla was critically injured.

Collins' family have expressed their gratitude for the support they have been receiving from all levels of the game he starred in. French-based former team-mates Neemia Tialata and Chris Masoe are rushing to Montpellier, family spokesman Tim Castle said at a news conference at New Zealand Rugby headquarters in Wellington on Saturday.

"Ayla's care and recovery are central to all of our endeavours at this time," he said. "The news today is that her condition has improved a little, which is wonderful for the family. "She remains in a very serious condition." Collins' cousin, former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga, is in Italy.

"Tana is devastated with this news. He's providing significant support from there for the family," Castle said.

He declined to discuss details of the accident, saying there would be a formal police report. He also said it was too early to provide information regarding repatriation and funeral arrangements.

The outpouring of support has came from all levels of rugby - from the Norths Rugby Club in Porirua, Jerry's and his father's club, to the Narbonne club in France; and the Ospreys in London, where Collins played, to the Hurricanes and All Blacks management. Norths posted more than 70 pictures of Collins on its Facebook page.

From the moment the news broke, the response had been global, Castle said. He said the key message he had from the family was to express their gratitude to everybody. They want "to get Jerry home". Castle said he had also spoken to Madill's parents.

"They would not mind me saying that just as Jerry's family is so devastated they are deeply traumatised by these events. They too are focusing on the continuing care of little Ayla."

The Collins family are gathering in Wellington - his mother and two sisters had been in Samoa for a wedding when news of the tragedy broke.

© AAP

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