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Page last updated at 19:42 GMT, Saturday, 9 May 2009 20:42 UK

Ospreys sign ex-All Black Collins

Jerry Collins
Collins announced his retirement from Test rugby in May 2008

The Ospreys have signed ex-All Blacks' back-row Jerry Collins, 28, on a two-year deal from French side Toulon.

Collins is the Ospreys' first major signing since Scott Johnson's appointment as coaching boss.

Ospreys elite performance director Andrew Hore said of Collins: "He is a proven world-class performer."

Collins' manager Tim Castle told the NZ Sunday News: "The Ospreys and Jerry are coming together for the next couple of years, I can confirm that."

Hore added: "[Collins] brings with him both a real hard edge and 'go-forward' ability, as well as an uncompromising attitude on and off the field.

"He will complement the other loose forwards that we have at the Ospreys and, importantly, will be available for selection throughout the season, providing valuable cover for the times when we lose so many players to the Welsh side.

"As an organisation, we have always looked to bring in people of real quality from outside the region when we feel that they have the right characteristics to complement what we already have here, and Jerry Collins certainly fits that description."

606: DEBATE

Hore was also keen to emphasise the Ospreys commitment to developing home-grown talent.

He added: "The Ospreys remain 100% committed to producing home grown talent and are immensely proud of our record in bringing through players for both the Ospreys and Wales teams.

"As we have shown before, there are occasions where we need to go outside of the region to identify and recruit true leaders in their field, who can help to develop and nurture our own young talent.

"In Jerry Collins we have certainly got a true leader."

Filo Tiatia, another ex-All Black, has confirmed he intends to play on next season so Collins must compete with the Ospreys veteran plus Ryan Jones, Jonathan Thomas, Marty Holah, Ben Lewis, Tom Smith and Steve Tandy.

A person of Jerry's calibre is going to be a huge asset whichever team he joins

Ryan Jones

Skipper Jones said: "A person of Jerry's calibre is going to be a huge asset whichever team he joins and we look forward to having him here and hopefully he'll have a huge impact."

Collins announced his retirement from international rugby in May 2008 and despite Toulon having a star-studded squad, the French club's progress has been dogged by difficulties.

The Samoan-born forward made 48 appearances in the All Blacks' back-row, starting against Argentina in 2003 and ending in New Zealand's 20-18 2007 Rugby World Cup quarter-final defeat by France in Cardiff.

On Friday Collins helped Toulon ensured their place in the French top flight next season by pushing pushing fellow relegation strugglers Dax through the trapdoor with a 22-12 win.

Castle added: "Jerry played his 20th game for Toulon... and it's acknowledged by the club that he's played a critical role in keeping Toulon up in the Top 14.

"Jerry is excited about the new challenge of playing for the Ospreys and also the opportunity to play in the Heineken Cup.

"He recognises the great traditions of the two clubs [Swansea and Neath] which merge to form the Ospreys, as well as the great tradition of the game in Wales and these are factors in his move."



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see also
Butler has concerns over Collins
11 May 09 |  Ospreys
Ospreys 34-23 Glasgow Warriors
10 May 09 |  Ospreys
Holley is set for Johnson's reign
16 Apr 09 |  Ospreys
Ospreys not distracted by Johnson
02 Apr 09 |  Ulster
Gloucester 17-0 Ospreys
28 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales
Heineken Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
RaboDirect Pro12
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Anglo-Welsh Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union


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