Intimidator Collins seriously vows not to pull the other one

NZPA     17 Aug 2006    

Across the Tasman a poll of Australian Test and Rebel Sport Super 14 players rated the All Blacks blindside as the game's most intimidating player this year - but Collins took the accolade in his stride yesterday.

"I don't know about that. I usually have a beer with them after the game - they don't mind that I end up buying," he laughed.

Collins said his familiarity with the Wallabies through regular contact through the Super 14 made it hard to accept he was genuinely feared.

"It's one of those things, if you're recognised it's great to get respect from your peers -- and the Aussie guys are our peers," he said.

"But it's quite hard (to believe) because you play against these guys all the time. They must be just going on looks -- I must be the ugliest one in the team," he said, before ominously adding:

"You've got to make sure you don't disappoint them -- if that's what they think ...."

Collins made the headlines after the All Blacks rugged 13-9 Bledisloe Cup-retaining win in Brisbane last month -- though hardly for a piece of classic trans-Tasman brutality.

Rather, he was criticised for pulling the dreadlocks of flanker George Smith at a breakdown, not a great look for a supposed hardman.

There will be no repeat of that at Eden Park on Saturday, especially in the early stages as Phil Waugh will start at openside.

Collins was surprised Smith was relegated to the bench but expected him to feature eventually.

Waugh, he reckoned, had similar foraging qualities.

"He's good, he's built in the same mould," Collins said.

"He's low on the ball and it's pretty hard to move him off it. And his hair's shorter so I guess I won't be grabbing it."