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Rugby world pays tribute to Matthew J Watkins

Rugby world pays tribute to Matthew J Watkins

Matthew Watkins played nine Championship matches. ©INPHO

It was in unusual circumstances that the rugby world came together in spirit, if not in person, to pay tribute to former Wales centre Matthew J Watkins.

Watkins passed away earlier this month at the age of 41 from a rare form of pelvic cancer and his funeral was streamed live on Tuesday with just ten family members able to attend due to social distancing restrictions.

So while the large crowds that would otherwise have attended were not at Thornhill Crematorium in Cardiff, people from across the rugby world were still able to pay tribute to Watkins.

Among them was former Wales back-rower Alix Popham, who had urged people to tune in wearing a club tie, jersey or badge to show how much Watkins meant to them.

Former Wales fly-half Jonathan Davies and ex-Wales centre Tom Shanklin also paid tribute to the former Scarlets and Wales man.

 

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RIP MJ. Brave till then end. Taken far to early❤️

A post shared by Jonathan Davies OBE (@jiffyrugby) on

Watkins spent time playing rugby in England for Gloucester, and some of his Cherry & White teammates were also keen to share their memories of him.

Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips played with Watkins at both the Scarlets and internationally.

And every team Watkins played for also paid tribute to the former centre.

Watkins won 18 caps for Wales between 2003 and 2006, making his debut in the 2003 Championship as a replacement against Italy.