Matthew J Watkins death: Former Wales rugby star dies at 41 after battling cancer for seven years

Former Wales rugby international Matthew J Watkins has died after a seven-year battle with cancer.

The former Dragons and Scarlets centre, who won 18 caps for his country, was diagnosed with pelvic cancer in 2013. Watkins had raised thousands of pounds fundraising in recent years for the Welsh Cancer Centre Velindre throughout his treatment.

“The Scarlets family are deeply saddened by the news that our former player Matthew Watkins has passed away at the age of 41,” read a statement from the Welsh club. ”‘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.

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“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.”

After starting his career with Newport RFC, Watkins moved on to Llanelli where he emerged as an outstanding centre, earning himself a call-up to Wales.

Perhaps his greatest moment playing for his country came as part of the team that pulled off a historic win over Australia.


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