Collins has a ball in club turnout

Blues and Otago fullback Michael Collins with the Ranfurly Shield and White Horse Cup after...
Blues and Otago fullback Michael Collins with the Ranfurly Shield and White Horse Cup after helping Wakatipu beat Arrowtown 20-19 to win the cup in Arrowtown on Saturday. Collins is believed to be the first player to have won both trophies. Photo: Paul Dwyer
When Blues fullback Michael Collins missed selection in the squad for Saturday night's game against the Highlanders in Dunedin, he contacted Wakatipu club officials to let them know he was available if they needed him.

Did they what.

With injuries having depleted their squad ahead of the big clash with Arrowtown, coaches Brad Robertson and Brett Anderson jumped at the chance to get Collins involved, offering him the No 13 jersey.

For someone who grew up in Queenstown, it became, remarkably, Collins' first appearance for the club's premier side.

"I'd played junior rugby in Queenstown and my dad, Kelvin, was heavily involved there as an administrator, but all my senior club rugby was in Dunedin, and later Auckland," Collins said.

Collins said he was "blown away" by the occasion, as Jack Reid Park in Arrowtown attracted a massive crowd for this intense local derby.

"It was a real thrill to be involved on such an occasion," he said.

Collins contributed significantly to Wakatipu's one-point victory, scoring his team's first try and playing a crucial role in the second, which clinched the game.

Collins said more Super Rugby players should take the opportunity to turn out for clubs when chances arise.

"Its great for the game and a reminder of what grass roots rugby in New Zealand is all about."

Collins said club rugby in Auckland was so structured, with every player given a specific role, that it had been a delight to play "something different" down here.

"To be honest it took me most of the first half to work out who was doing what."

 - Bob Howitt 

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