21 Mar 2013

NZ rugby star's detention in Japan extended

9:16 am on 21 March 2013

A lawyer representing arrested former All Black Jerry Collins says his client's detention in Japan has been extended.

The rugby star is in police custody after being found with a 17-centimetre knife in a department store in Hamamatsu at the weekend.

The 32-year-old, who played for New Zealand in 48 international games from 2001 to 2008, including the 2003 and 2007 World Cups, was arrested in the industrial city in central Japan on Saturday.

Under strict weapons laws in Japan it is illegal to carry a blade larger than 15 centimetres without police permission.

Lawyer Tim Castle said the period in custody has been extended for 10 days but this was not unusual in Japan. During this time investigations by the prosecution and Collins' lawyers would continue.

Collins is contracted to the Yamaha Jubilo Rugby Club until the end of March, but was released last month.

A journalist for Kyodo news agency, Rich Freeman, said the club was surprised to discover he was still in the country.

He said Collins had gone back to New Zealand at the beginning of last week and his rugby club knows of no reason for him to return.

Mr Castle told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme says his client is between contracts and is looking for the next step in his playing career.