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All Black would trade it all

Guinness PRO12 Editor

28 May 2010

Ospreys flanker Jerry Collins may have enjoyed some memorable moments so far this term but the former All Black says he would trade them all for success on Saturday.

Collins is expected to start alongside Ryan Jones and Marty Holah in a formidable back row in what should be a thrilling Magners League Grand Final against Leinster at the RDS.

The 29-year-old blindside has starred in all bar one of his team’s 19 Magners League ties so far this season yet he says would give up the numerous personal accolades that have come his way for hits first taste of glory with the Liberty Stadium outfit.

"All the minutes I've played, all the hard work and effort, you trade them all in for this last 80 minutes" said Collins, who already has close to 1400 minutes of Magners League action under his belt since having only joined the region from Toulon at the end of last season.

"It's a good place to be at the end of a long season. You'd rather be still training, still working, and to be involved in this game than to have finished two weeks ago, as it means we are still in the chase to win it.

"I don't look at stats or pay attention to the number of games I'm playing but I know I've been involved in most of them and people tell me that I've had more game time than anyone else. It's not something I worry about, I'm paid to be a professional rugby player and that's what I want to be doing. I'd be more concerned if I wasn't playing!

"I'm really enjoying my rugby. We've put ourselves in a position where we are 80 minutes away from winning silverware so I won't be thinking about the minutes I've already played this season. I'm more concerned with what I have to do between now and 8.30 on Saturday night."

Having played the majority of his rugby back home in New Zealand, Collins is familiar with the concept of the end-of-season Play-Offs that have been introduced to the Magners League for the very first time this term.

While the system will be new to so many of the players taking the field on Saturday night, Collins is a Play-Off veteran thanks to his time with Wellington in the NPC and with the Hurricanes in the Super 14.

The ex-All Black skipper admits that the Grand Final marks an exciting conclusion to the Celtic season, especially as it could see the Ospreys make history by becoming the first side to win a hat-trick of Magners League titles.

"It's a great way to end the season,” added Collins, who played 48 times for his country between 2001 and 2007.

"The boys have slogged it hard over the season and we've seen the good and the bad at times over the last nine months and, to be honest, Leinster are probably thinking the same thing.

"Like us they fell at the knockout stages of Europe and they will want the Magners League trophy to end the season on a high.

"Leinster don't lose very often at home, we all know that. It's probably one of the toughest places in European rugby to go and play; they were Heineken Cup champions last year, semi-finalists this year, and they finished first in the regular Magners League season, so their quality is clear.

"Most people would consider us underdogs going into this, but that won't be on our mind. It's a final, and in these games it's all about what happens on the day and what you've achieved historically counts for nothing. We've played really well the last six weeks or so, but what matters is this weekend, and that we play our best football on Saturday night.

"It will come down to two things; who makes the least mistakes and who converts the few opportunities that they will get. Going into a game like this you can't expect to get more than two or three chances and the winner will be the one who doesn't waste those opportunities."