Rugby star Jerry Collins who made shock appearance for Barnstaple reportedly in custody for allegedly carrying a knife
Former New Zealand rugby star Jerry Collins, who once made a shock appearance for Barnstaple’s second team, is reportedly in custody after he was alleged to have been arrested for carrying a knife in a department store.
It has been reported the 32-year-old flanker could be in custody for more than three weeks as Japanese police investigate the incident.
A report on website stuff.co.nz suggests he was arrested at the weekend in the central Japan industrial city of Hamamatsu.
The website reported he told Japanese police he kept a kitchen knife for self-defence.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
His agent, Wellington lawyer Tim Castle, was reported to have said: "He's still in custody and the procedure initially allows to hold him for three days.
"That can be extended for a further 10 days if they wish to do so while further investigations continue, which has to be done through a court application.
"They can then request another 10 days, again through a court application, which means the whole procedure can be up to 23 days."
Mr Castle said Collins might have been threatened and had reason to fear for his safety in the weeks leading up to his arrest. He heard there might have been an incident involving social media that gave Collins cause for concern, it has been reported.
It is illegal to have weapons with blades longer than 15cm without police permission in Japan.
A New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson is reported as saying that the ministry was aware of the arrest.
Collins left Yamaha Jubilo in Japan's Top League last month when his two-year contract expired. He had played for them since 2011.
He played for New Zealand in 48 international games from 2001 to 2008, including the 2003 and 2007 World Cups.
Shortly after the All Blacks’ exit from the World Cup in 2007, Collins was staying with friends in North Devon when he bumped into Barnstaple director of rugby Kevin Squire in Croyde.
Collins agreed to coach some of the club’s youth players on a Friday evening and asked if he could play for one of Barnstaple’s teams the next day.
He ended up turning out at No 8 for the Barnstaple Development XV in a match at Newton Abbot.
Mark Manley, of his team-mates on the day, said: “It was awesome, I was like a kid in a sweet shop. The guy is a living legend and he was calling me by my nickname for the ball – it was the best rugby day ever.”
Barnstaple were winning the game 19-5 when it was abandoned after an injury to Barum player Trevor Wayborn.
A month later, Collins wore a pair of red Barnstaple socks when he played for the Barbarians against South Africa at Twickenham.