Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Order of Merit

Picture the scene. There you are, a rugby player turning out regularly for Newton Abbott RFC's 2nd XV in the Devon Merit table and, as usual, you turn up at the club on Saturday, having had one too many pints on Friday night, for a match against Barnstaple 2nds. Nothing unusual so far, you might think, but then out of the opposition's changing room and kitted out in Barnstaple colours steps none other than All Black flanker Jerry Collins!

Yes, last weekend the All Blacks and Hurricanes backrower and former Gremlin fancied a bit of a run around and somehow found himself playing for Barnstaple 2nds in their 21-7 victory over Newton Abbott.

The match report on the Barnstaple club's website describes the slightly surreal nature of the occasion, the reaction of the Barnstaple players when Collins turned up to get on the team bus being a mixture of disbelief and delight, apart from a certain Dan Ewing who walked right passed Collins without giving him a second glance before asking his team mates "Who's the new guy?"

Collins scored one of Barnstaple's three tries but nevertheless Newton Abbott coach Phil Burford was delighted to see him play.

"I think the second team lads were pinching themselves," he said. "I don't think he was quite firing on all cylinders but he made three try-saving tackles."

Final word goes to the Barnstaple match report - "a massive thank you to Jerry Collins for making the effort to play and by doing so making 30+ players as happy as a fat kid in a sweetshop."

1 comment:

Sportsfreak said...

Classic. I’d be surprised if there’s a bigger “Grass Roots” club man going around in professional rugby.

He’s often got into trouble in NZ for turning up for a club game (and even practices) during the Super 14 season.

One of the (many) reasons NZ got knocked out of RWC so early was because he’d only started around 11 matches in the whole year, was therefore not match fit, and had to leave the field v France after taking a knock. He needs to be playing at least once a week.