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Top 14: Collins quits Toulon as Ospreys swoop for former All Blacks captain

15 March 2009

Snared by the Ospreys:
Jerry Collins is leaving Toulon
Photo: Michael Paler

Toulon back row star Jerry Collins has agreed a two-year deal to join the Ospreys next season.

The former All Black captain, capped 48 times, has departed the French club less than 48 hours after they secured their Top 14 status with a 22-12 away win at Dax on Friday night.

Top 14 Table / Top 14 Fixtures / Top 14 Transfers

The 28-year-old leaves after just one season in France, and has been welcomed by the Ospreys? elite performance director Andrew Hore.

?Jerry Collins is a proven world-class performer who brings with him both a real hard edge and ?go-forward? ability, as well as an uncompromising attitude on and off the field,? said Hore.

The ex-Hurricanes Super 14 star is the first major signing to join the Magners League side since Scott Johnson was confirmed as their new director of coaching.

Collins? manager Tim Castle said his client was ?excited about the new challenge of playing for the Ospreys and also the opportunity to play in the Heineken Cup? ? something he would not have got at Toulon for at least another season.

Toulon?s Friday night win is expected to pave the way for Jonny Wilkinson?s transfer from Newcastle Falcons, but club president Mourad Boudjellal was more concerned with the result that possible signings after the match.

The season-long struggle for survival has been an emotional roller coaster, but Boudjellal has been strangely subdued of late. Prior to the crucial game he admitted Toulon were travelling to Dax ?with great humility?, and after the win he was also careful not to overdo his own celebrations.

?It?s a bit complicated,? he admitted afterwards. ?I thought I would explode with joy but my joy is mixed with Dax?s pain,? he explained after the result had effectively condemned their opponents to relegation. ?I would have preferred that we secured our safety against a club which also remains in Top 14,? he added.


Another player on the move, according to the French press, is Stade Francais scrum-half Alexandre Albouy, who is set to join Castres. Albouy?s departure could be a further indicator that the Paris giants are lining up Leicester?s highly rated French scrum-half Julien Dupuy, who has acknowledged contact with several Top 14 sides as he tries to manufacture a move back home.

Stade Francais re-signed former Argentina scrum half Agustin Pichot earlier this season, and with Dupuy perhaps poised to arrive, it could be that Albouy saw his potential playing-time disappear.

The 30-year-old, who has one France cap, rejoins the team he left for Stade Francais in 2006/07.

Finally, the Fédération Francais de Rugby (FFR) has confirmed that ?Les Bleus? will take on the Springboks in Toulouse on November 14, after a prior World Cup football booking prevented them playing the game at the Stade de France.


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