Part of my new hours at work involve getting up at silly o'clock in the morning, so with no-one awake to natter to in the morning, I generally find myself having an early morning sojourn through social media.
At 5.45 this morning, I was stopped in my tracks. 'JERRY COLLINS KILLED IN CRASH' was the headline.
Jerry and his partner Alana Madill were involved in a car crash near Beziers, Southern France and were both killed, their daughter, 2 month old Ayla is fighting for her life. The pictures of the crash that have surfaced are horrific, and I won't be sharing them on this site.
Jerry was one of the most recognisable players in world rugby, mainly due to the fact he was a giant with a crop of bleach blond hair, sometimes his face twisted into a terrifying scowl, sometimes it was exploding into a broad grin, either way, he was one of the most respected, and feared, back rowers in rugby.
Collins has literally travelled the world playing rugby. 8 years in Wellington, and the Hurricanes super rugby franchise, then on to Toulon and stints at the Ospreys, Yamaha Jubilo in Japan and a return to France with Narbonne, he even once famously turned out for Barnstaple 2nd team! He was 48 times capped by the All Blacks.
The rugby fraternity has, as usual, come together under tragic circumstances, with many of rugby's luminaries posting messages of condolence, telling him they'll miss him, or outright mourning him.
Born in Apia, Samoa, Jerry was from a big rugby family, he was cousin to Tana and Mike Umaga as well as current Newcastle Falcons wing Sinoti Sinoti.
My thoughts go to the families of Jerry and Alana as well as little Ayla. If she's half the fighter her daddy was, she'll pull through. I'll be crossing my fingers for her.