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Page last updated at 06:50 GMT, Thursday, 9 July 2009 07:50 UK

Collins aims to earn Ospreys spot

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

All Blacks great Jerry Collins says he is taking nothing for granted after arriving at his new club, the Ospreys.

"There's a very strong squad here with options everywhere," said the 48-cap man, now retired from Test rugby.

"I will have to earn the right to wear the shirt, which is exactly how it should be."

The back-rower, 28, was a surprise big-name signing by the Liberty Stadium side in May, the New Zealander arriving on a two-year contract from Toulon.

Collins announced his retirement from international rugby in May 2008 before moving to France.

606: DEBATE

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.

"It's an honour for me to be able to come here and represent the Ospreys, but I realise that I can't take anything for granted," said Collins, who arrived in Wales from his French home on Tuesday ahead of his first training session with the Ospreys on Wednesday.

"The first goal I have to set myself is to put the work in during pre-season to make sure that my body is in the best condition to compete.

"Once I've done that, we have a couple of pre-season matches to show what I can do on the field before the season proper starts.

It's not about past reputations. Fitness and form is what dictates whether someone is going to play

Jerry Collins

"It's not about past reputations. Fitness and form is what dictates whether someone is going to play.

"There are three or four familiar faces from New Zealand [in the Ospreys squad] which certainly helps you to settle in, but the welcome from everyone has been first class.

"The atmosphere and the set-up reminds me of back home in many ways, it's really friendly and welcoming.

"Obviously I'm aware of a lot of the guys, I've played against a lot of them for Wales.

"I'm really looking forward to working alongside people like Shane Williams, Ryan Jones, Gavin Henson and the Joneses up front, but there are a lot of new faces for me.

"I understand that there's some great young players coming through and it'll be great to work with these guys as well and help them along the way.

"My job now is to learn all the names, learn all the moves in training and help to take the Ospreys forward."



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see also
Butler has concerns over Collins
11 May 09 |  Ospreys
Ospreys sign ex-All Black Collins
09 May 09 |  Ospreys
Collins ends New Zealand career
26 May 08 |  Rugby Union
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