|Date of birth||20 September 1983|
|School||Lawrence Sheriff School|
|Rugby union career|
Gareth Collins (born 1983) is a former English-Welsh rugby union player who is currently head coach at Melton Mowbray and Head of Psychology at The King's School Grantham. A Leicester Tigers youth player, Collins was a versatile back who made his name scoring tries, being one of the most prolific finishers in National League 2 North history with 152 tries scored during his time with Rugby Lions and Leicester Lions, which included a joint divisional record 32 tries in a season. As well as playing club rugby he has also represented Warwickshire in the county championships and has captained the England Counties XV.
Born to an English mother and Welsh father, Collins grew up in Rugby, Warwickshire and attended Lawrence Sheriff School. While at school he played rugby for Warwickshire under-16s as well as playing junior rugby for Rugby Lions and English Premiership giants, Leicester Tigers. By virtue of his Welsh heritage he also played rugby union for the Welsh Exiles and hockey for Wales at under-16 level. Collins played three seasons of youth rugby at Leicester Tigers but was unable to break into the senior squad, instead returning his other youth side, Rugby Lions in 2003, after a short spell with Midlands regional side, Barkers Butts. Back in the 2002–03 season Rugby Lions were playing in the second division (then known as National Division 1) and the young Collins had to wait until March for his debut, a 12 – 56 defeat away to Plymouth Albion. Collins played 2 more games in what was a very difficult debut season as Rugby failed to win a single game and were relegated to National Division 2.
The 2003–04 started better for Rugby Lions as they were competitive in National 2 and Collins started to become a first team regular, playing 18 games and scoring 6 tries in the league. Although performances were improved on the previous year, Rugby lost out in a very close relegation battle with Rosslyn Park, going down in 13th place on the last day of the season after losing 35–50 at home to champions Sedgley Park (a game Collins missed), while Rosslyn Park managed to stay up by 1 point after winning their fixture. The 2004–05 season saw Rugby Lions in National Division 3 North and as with the previous year they were competitive in the league, with Collins continuing to play regularly and bettered his try record from the previous season by grabbing 8 in the league. Unfortunately for Rugby they were deducted 5 points in December due to fielding too many oversea players and this would cost them at the end of the season as they were relegated for the third successive year. The club's 49 points meant that they went down in 12th spot just 2 points behind relegation rivals, Cleckheaton – if it had not been for the points deducted then they would have stayed up.
After a disastrous third relegation with Rugby, Collins left in the summer of 2005 to join another Lions side – this time with the Leicester Lions who had just been promoted into National Division 3 North. The 2005–06 season saw Collins play and score regularly for his new side, getting 12 tries and helping them to a 12th-place finish in the league. Despite being well clear of the relegation zone, Collins and Lions could be thankful to the RFU who had designated just two relegation spots that season – if they had not then it would have been four relegation's in a row for Collins! The next couple of seasons saw Leicester Lions consolidate their place in National Division 3 North with 7th and 4th-placed finishes, Collins playing and scoring regularly. The 2008–09 season would be an excellent one for Collins as he started to discover serious try scoring form. Despite the Lions not building on their 4th-place finish of the previous year and dropping back down to 7th, Collins finished as the divisions top try scorer with 29 tries from 26 league appearances – including getting six tries in a match (twice) against first Bradford & Bingley and then Halifax.
Such deadly form saw him picked for Warwickshire for the 2009 County Championship, although he could not help his county stay in Division 1 and they were relegated at the end of the competition having failed to win any games in their northern pool. Despite disappointment in county competition, Collins was called up by England Counties XV to take part in their summer tour of South Korea and Japan – the only player from tier 4 to be included. He did not play in the Counties record 108–10 win over a Korea presidents XV but started the second game, scoring a try on his international debut as his team beat East Japan 67 – 31 in Tokyo on 8 June in what would be his only game of the tour.
The 2009–10 season saw Leicester Lions finish 6th in the newly rebranded National League 2 North. Although Collins was not as prolific as the previous year he still managed 18 tries and was recalled by England Counties to take part in their summer tour of Canada. He featured in two of the three games on tour including a 20 – 6 win against The Rock and a 46 – 7 win over British Columbia Bears. The 2010–11 season was the most successful of both Collins and Leicester Lions to date. Collins managed to once more finish as the division's top try scorer with a tier 4 (north) record breaking 32 tries (since equalled by Ryan Parkinson in the 2013–14 season), while his team just missed out on a promotion playoff spot, 2 points adrift of second place, Loughborough Lions – the highest league position in the Lions history. In March 2011 Collins captained the England Counties XV for the first time, scoring a try as his side lost 8 – 16 to an Irish Club XV at the match played Anglesea Road in Dublin. Although he missed county action with Warwickshire his rugby continued into the summer, captaining England Counties for their tour of Spain. He played three games on a very successful tour, scoring two tries including one in the 55 – 6 victory against Spain in the final game.
After the dizzy heights of 2011 there came a fall as Leicester Lions struggled in the league, just managing to avoid relegation with a 13th-placed finish, 1 point clear of 14th placed Harrogate who actually had more wins. In a struggling team, Collins found tries harder to come by than in recent seasons, although the 13 he got went some way to ensuring the Lions stayed up. It was also the first time in three years in which Collins did not experience England Counties XV rugby, freeing him up for Warwickshire who took part in the County Championship Plate at the end of the season. He scored 2 tries in a 39–37 victory over Eastern Counties but this was not enough as Warwickshire would go on to finish second in their pool, missing out on a chance of promotion to Division 1.
The following season was better for Leicester Lions as they would finish higher up in the table in 9th with Collins grabbing 12 tries but it was the beginning of the end of his time at the club. During the pre-season Collins injured his knee. He took part in the opening league game against Dudley Kinswinford but had to go off in the first half after re-injuring his knee. This injury would result in him missing the whole of the 2013–14 season. After nine seasons at Leicester Lions, five of which he had been captain, Collins had played his last game for the club.
Head Coach at Melton Mowbray
In September 2014 after a year out due to injury and knee reconstruction surgery, Collins became the head coach at Melton Mowbray. He had prior coaching experience with The King's School at Grantham, as well as currently coaching the Leicestershire under-20s, but this was his first senior coaching role. He took over a Melton Mowbray team which had just been relegated into Midlands 3 East (North) – the lowest level of Midlands regional rugby.
His first season coaching was a great success as Melton Mowbray dominated Midlands 3 East (North), going undefeated in the league all season to take the title and claim promotion back to their former league. They also won a double by clinching the RFU Midlands Vase with an emphatic 46 – 5 victory away to Vipers in March 2015. Winning the Midlands section of the RFU Vase meant going through to the national semi-finals in April, where despite home advantage, Melton Mowbray lost 22 – 33 against northern winners, West Leeds, ending the hopes of appearing at the Twickenham final.
A second promotion would follow the next season as Melton Mowbray claimed the Midlands 2 East (South) title with a win over Vipers to go up to Midlands 1 East. Melton would also claim another double – this time defeating Hinckley 20–18 at Welford Road in Leicester to win the Leicestershire Cup for the first time ever in the club's history.
Season-by-season playing stats
|Season||Club||Competition||Appearances||Tries||Drop Goals||Conversions||Penalties||Total Points|
|2002–03||Barkers Butts||Midlands Division 1||7||0||0||0||0||0|
|Rugby Lions||National Division 1||3||0||0||0||0||0|
|2003–04||National Division 2||18||6||0||0||0||30|
|2004–05||National Division 3 North||18||8||0||0||0||40|
|2005–06||Leicester Lions||National Division 3 North||23||14||0||0||0||70|
|Powergen National Trophy||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|2006–07||National Division 3 North||21||10||0||0||0||50|
|2007–08||National Division 3 North||24||16||0||0||0||80|
|EDF National Trophy||1||1||0||0||0||5|
|2008–09||National Division 3 North||26||29||0||0||0||145|
|2009–10||National League 2 North||29||18||0||0||0||90|
|2010–11||National League 2 North||29||32||0||0||0||160|
|2011–12||National League 2 North||30||13||0||1||0||67|
|2012–13||National League 2 North||28||12||0||0||1||63|
|2013–14||National League 2 North||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|2014–15||Melton Mowbray||Midlands 3 East (North)||?||?||?||?||?||?|
|2015–16||Midlands 2 East (South)||?||?||?||?||?||?|
|2016–17||Midlands 1 East||?||?||?||?||?||?|
|Season||Side||Competition||Appearances||Tries||Drop Goals||Conversions||Penalties||Total Points|
|2008–09||Warwickshire||County Championship||2[a 1]||0||0||0||0||0|
|England Counties XV||Tour of Korea and Japan||1||1||0||0||0||5|
|2009–10||England Counties XV||Tour of Canada||2||0||0||0||0||0|
|2010–11||England Counties XV||Test match||1||1||0||0||0||5|
|Tour of Spain||3||2||0||0||0||10|
|2011–12||Warwickshire||County Championship Plate||1[a 2]||2||0||0||0||10|
- During the 2009 County Championships Collins played at least 2 games but team details for Warwickshire's final game against Yorkshire are unclear with the Coventry Telegraph press article stating that Warwickshire were depleted by injuries.
- During the 2012 County Championship Plate Collins played at least one game but team details for Warwickshire's first game against Durham are unclear.
Honours and records
National League 2 North
- Tier 4 (North) most tries in a season: 32 (tied with Ryan Parkinson)
England Counties XV
- Selected for tour of Korea: 2009
- Selected for tour of Canada: 2010
- Selected and made captain for tour of Spain: 2011
- Capped by Warwickshire senior county team
- Capped by Welsh Exiles
- Midlands 3 East (North) champions: 2014–15
- RFU Midlands Vase winners: 2015
- Midlands 2 East (South) champions: 2015–16
- Leicestershire Cup winners: 2016, 2017
- "Gareth Collins Details". Rugby Statbunker. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
- "National Two North All time leading scorers". Rugby Statbunker. 7 May 2016.
- "National Two North 10/11 Leading try scorers". Rugby Statbunker. 21 May 2011.
- "RUGBY: Ex Lions in Japan". Rugby Advertiser. 9 June 2009.
- "Melton Mowbray". The Rugby Agents. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
- "LSS Sport Representative". Lawrence Sheriff School. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
- "Local rivals have plenty to play for". Coventry Telegraph. 18 April 2003.
- "Defeat seals Lions' demise". Coventry Telegraph. 12 April 2004.
- "Rugby Lions Season 2004/05". Rugby Lions. 29 April 2005.
- "So many 'what ifs'". Rugby Advertiser. 29 April 2005.
- "North 1 2006–07". englandrugby.com. 9 September 2006.
- "National Three North 08/09 Leading try scorers". Rugby Statbunker. 16 May 2009.
- "National 3 North 08/09 Most tries in a match (Player)". Rugby Statbunker. 16 May 2009.
- "Warwickshire 28 Lancashire 66". Coventry Telegraph. 11 May 2009.
- "Northumberland 20 Warwickshire 13". Coventry Telegraph. 18 May 2009.
- "Yorkshire 56 Warwickshire 3". Coventry Telegraph. 25 May 2009.
- "Rugby: Leicester Lions winger Gareth Collins on England Counties tour". Leicester Mercury. 1 June 2009.
- "East Japan 31 England Counties 67". Rugby Network. 8 June 2009.
- "England Counties Squad Announced for Canada Trip June 2010". Rugby Network. 27 May 2010.
- "National League 2 North 2010–11". englandrugby.com. 21 May 2011.
- "Elusive win in Ireland evades Counties XV yet again". Rugby Network. 12 March 2011.
- "Madrid XV 24 England Counties 53". Somerset County Gazette. 6 June 2011.
- "England Counties v Castilla & Leon". Rolling Maul. 8 June 2011.
- "Collins the captain of Counties". Rugby Advertiser. 30 June 2011.
- "Bittersweet day for Harrogate teams". Harrogate Advertiser. 28 April 2012.
- "County Championship 2012". Rolling Maul. 12 May 2012.
- "Leicester Lions 29 – 16 Dudley Kingswinsford". Leicester Lions RFC (Pitchero). 8 September 2013.
- "Melton rugby: New head coach Gareth Collins targets promotion in first season". Melton Times. 11 September 2014.
- "2014–2015 Midlands Division". England Rugby. Rugby Football Union. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- "Melton complete League and Cup Doubles". Melton Mowbray RFC (Pitchero). 14 March 2015.
- "And Now you better believe it". West Leeds RUFC (Pitchero). 4 April 2016.
- "2015–2016 Midlands Division". England Rugby. Rugby Football Union. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
- "Melton Dig Deep To Win Back To Back Championships, With A Close Win Over Vipers". Melton Mowbray RFC (Pitchero). 9 April 2016.
- "Melton Crowned County Champions!!". Melton Mowbray RFC (Pitchero). 4 May 2016.
- "Gareth Collins Record by competition". Rugby Statbunker. 26 April 2014.