An asterisk seemed to accompany Jerry Collins career.

A broken leg, hip injuries, social indiscretions, blunt language, power and aggression-they were all parts of Collins' career before he skipped away to Europe after six years of international combat.

Collins was touted as a rich prospect during his teenage years and in between some injury episodes made his All Black debut before he was 21. The man with the Wellington coloured hairstyle was ultra proud of his capital origins.

He had a tough upbringing and delivered his unique take on international rugby and life at the top. Right between the eyes was Collins' form. There were no frilly bits, no blurred lines. He thought it, he said it, he felt it, he did it-often to his detriment when age slowed him in as he went through his offshore stints.

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Collins was as rough and rugged as anyone in the game, a throwback to earlier times when only the toughest survived. He was not to everyone's taste but Graham Henry and his selectors thought enough of the man and his skill to pick him as captain for several matches.

He was the enforcer whose reliable defence allowed Richie McCaw and Rodney So'oialo to use their skills and running games to hurt their rivals. While they created and invented, Collins ploughed on with his punishing style.

When he nailed people, they stayed hit. Colin Charvis and Nathan Sharpe were two test rivals who stayed down for some time after Collins delivered one of his thumping hits. There was always an edge about Collins which made people wary and that became more evident after his time in New Zealand.

As unrefined as he was, Collins brought an edge and honesty to his play few could emulate. He would have been a beast to play against.

Statistics
Date of birth: 4 November 1980
Position: Blindside flanker
Matches: 50
Tests: 48
Test debut: 23 June 2001 v Argentina, Christchurch
Last test: 6 October 2007 v France, Cardiff
Province: Wellington
Test tries: 5
Test points: 25