Iconic All Black and Wellington loose forward Jerry Collins has announced his retirement from the game in New Zealand. He will not, immediately, take up a contract abroad and will “take a break” from the game.
Report courtesy Rugby365.
In making the decision, effective from the 22-33 Super 14 semifinal loss to the Crusaders at the weekend, the 27-year-old Collins said it was difficult to leave a sport he’d loved since pulling on his first rugby boots in Porirua in the late 1980s.
“But I’ve been thinking about things for a while and I know in my heart that it’s time to step back,” Collins said on Monday.
“That’s just where I’m at,” he added.”
Collins said he had been granted an early release from his New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) contract and would always be grateful to New Zealand rugby, whether at his club Norths, the Wellington Lions, the Hurricanes or the All Blacks, for the opportunities it had given him.
Jerry Collins played in his first New Zealand representative age group team as a schoolboy in 1997 and said it had been a long, hard and enjoyable road ever since.
“It’s really difficult for me to talk about myself but I know I’ve always been totally committed to every minute of every game and that’s the way I want to go out.”
Collins said the decision was prompted by the desire to make a clean and dignified break from the game in this country. He came to a final conclusion during the closing stages of the Super 14, but said he had no overseas contracts to consider and was not rushing to make a decision on future options.
“New Zealand rugby has done a lot for me and I really do appreciate the way this has been worked out.”
He went on to say his only immediate priority was to have a well earned break from the game.
“With me, I’d like to think that what you saw is what you got. I always tried to put as much as I could into every match on the field. I wanted to leave at the right time, and after thinking about things over the past week and then getting through Saturday night’s match, that time is now.”
Jerry Collins played 48 tests for the All Blacks including three as captain; against Argentina in 2006 and Portugal and Romania in 2007. He also played eight seasons with the Hurricanes and amassed 47 provincial caps for Wellington dating back to 1999.
Jerry Collins said he followed a lot of overseas sports and was impressed with the way basketball legend Michael Jordan had managed his own departure from the game.
“Jordan said he only ever tried to be the best player he could be and he had a great time doing it. As far as rugby’s concerned, that’s the way I’ve tried to do things as well.”Tweet