All Black legend Sean Fitzpatrick led the tributes to former New Zealand back row Jerry Collins who died in a car accident in France yesterday.
Ex-New Zealand captain Fitzpatrick said Collins (34) "epitomised everything an All Black should be".
He added: "He was as tough as old boots on the field, very uncompromising and not someone you wanted to play against.
"Off the field, he was the nicest guy you could meet."
Collins was travelling near Beziers in southern France when his car was involved in a collision with a bus.
Collins' wife Alana Madill died in the accident and the crash has also left the couple's baby daughter Ayla in a critical condition in hospital.
"Our thoughts are with Jerry and Alana's families at this terribly sad time," New Zealand general manager Neil Sorensen said.
Collins' manager Tim Castle added: "I have been in touch with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who are doing everything they can to ensure baby Ayla is getting all the care she needs."
Collins, capped 48 times, had been playing for French club Narbonne.