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Former Wales Rugby Star Matthew J Watkins Dies At 41

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

The former Dragons, Scarlets and Gloucester 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. In 2018 Watkins discovered the cancer had spread to his spine and in January this year he announced it had spread to his head.

Watkins discovered the cancer after an MRI after initially believing the pain in his pack was due to the hip injury which had forced his retirement from the game in 2011.

A husband to wife Stacey and father to sons Siôr and Tal, Watkins was immensely popular.

After starting his career with Newport RFC, Watkins moved on to Llanelli where he emerged as an outstanding centre and earned 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 under Mike Ruddock.

With more than 100 appearances for the Scarlets, The Turks led the tributes to their former player.

“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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