Jerry Collins quits New Zealand rugby


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All Blacks flanker Jerry Collins announced his retirement from New Zealand rugby on Monday, saying he wanted to make a clean and dignified departure from the game.

Collins, 27, said he reached his decision near the end of the Super 14 season and his retirement was effective from the end of last Saturday’s semifinal between the Hurricanes and Crusaders.

The Crusaders beat Collins’ Hurricanes 33-22 to advance to Saturday’s Super 14 final against New South Wales in Christchurch.

Collins, a 48-test veteran, captained New Zealand in three tests.

He has been linked to offers from French clubs, but said he had no overseas contracts to consider and would not rush into any decisions on his future.

“I’ve been thinking about things for a while and I know in my heart that it’s time to step back,” he said.

“It’s difficult for me to talk about myself but I know I’ve always been committed to every minute of every game and that’s the way I want to go out.”

Collins has been released from his contracts with the New Zealand Rugby Union and the Hurricanes.

“New Zealand rugby has done a lot for me and I do appreciate the way this has been worked out,” he said.

“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.”

The New Zealand Rugby Union thanked Collins for his years of service.

“We are sorry to see him go but respect his wishes.” chairman Jock Hobbs said.

Collins becomes the latest high-profile All Black to quit New Zealand rugby since last year’s World Cup quarterfinal loss to France in Cardiff.

Several of his World Cup teammates, including Anton Oliver, Byron Kelleher, Doug Howlett, Chris Jack, Carl Hayman and Luke McAlister, are already playing in Europe.

Flyhalf Daniel Carter has reportedly been offered more than US$1 million (‘634,000) to take up a short-term contract in France.

Sapa-AP –

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