New Zealand
Collins makes his final farewell to homeground
ESPN Staff
June 16, 2015
Hundreds of people marched in Collins honour over the weekend © Getty Images

Jerry Collins has been farewelled by hundreds of Porirua and Northern United Rugby Football Club faithful who gathered to celebrate his life at the home ground of the NURFC. Under the floodlights, Collins' coffin was carried out to the halfway line at the ground, and a guard of blue and white performed a war dance for the All Blacks great.

Collins' body was brought back from France by cousin Tana Umaga, who talked of his job mentoring a young Collins and of the often hidden softer side of the All Blacks hard man. "They say Jerry was a free spirit and he gave that spirit freely. And usually it came in groups of five small glasses," Umaga told Fairfax Media.

Earlier in the day, Collins' body arrived at the ground where he began his rugby career as a six-year-old. Performing the full haka, a guard of honour made up of the club's younger players and students from Porirua's colleges flanked his coffin as he was carried up to the clubhouse. The procession was then met with another stirring haka from the Norths senior players.

Collins, 34, and his partner Alana Madill were killed in a car crash in southern France on June 5. Their three-month-old daughter Ayla was seriously injured and remains in hospital in Montpellier.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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