Former Wales rugby star Matthew J Watkins dies aged 41

Former Wales rugby star Matthew J Watkins has died at the age of 41.

The ex-centre was battling with a rare form of bone cancer and was in treatment at Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff before he sadly passed away.

Watkins' most famous day came with a stunning performance in Autumn 2005 during Wales' 24-22 win over Australia.

His club career was spent Dragons, Scarlets and Gloucester.

But after retiring in 2011, he discovered that he had a cancer in his pelvis, in what he thought was an injury from his playing days.

Before his death, Watkins had raised thousands of pounds with fundraising events for the Welsh centre who were taking care of him during treatment.

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Watkins leaves behind his wife Stacey and their young sons Sior and Tal.

BBC commentator Jonathan Davies tweeted his condolences: "RIP Matthew.

"What a lovely guy who took on cancer with courage and always had a smile on his face.

"Lived life to the full and was always smiling.

"Thoughts and prayers are with his family and close friends."

Wales players will wear black armbands during their Six Nations clash with England at Twickenham on Saturday.

Watkins has been supporting Wales closely during the campaign and tweeted a picture of him alongside his son Sior watching the first match of the series.

A statement from the Scarlets said: "The Scarlets family are deeply saddened by the news that our former player Matthew Watkins has passed away at the age of 41.

"‘MJ’ played 150 matches in a Scarlets jersey between 2002 and 2008, scoring 42 tries, including one against Ulster at Stradey Park that helped the Scarlets clinch the 2003-04 Celtic League title.

"He is fondly remembered as a silky-skilled, creative midfielder, who was a hugely popular figure among our supporters, the playing squad and staff at Stradey.

"The thoughts of everyone at Scarlets Rugby are with Matthew’s wife Stacey, his sons Siôr and Tal, family and friends at this sad time."

  • Cancer

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