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Statement: Matthew Watkins

07/03/2020

Everyone at Dragons Rugby is deeply saddened at the passing of our former player Matthew J Watkins at the age of 41.

'MJ', who won 18 caps for Wales between 2003 and 2006 as a creative and silky-skilled centre, began his professional career with Newport RFC and was a hugely popular figure with fans, team-mates and staff alike at Rodney Parade.

After playing youth rugby with Newbridge and Pontllanfraith, Matthew was a regular figure for Newport RFC for five years between 1997 and 2002, making 118 appearances before joining Llanelli.

He went on to make over 100 appearances for the Scarlets and also played for Gloucester before coming home in 2009 when he signed for the Dragons.

Matthew’s experience, leadership and talent was a great asset to our team before his retirement from the sport in 2011.

Matthew, who lived in Blackwood, was diagnosed with a rare form of pelvic cancer in 2013 and was receiving treatment at Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff.

Despite his diagnosis, Matthew was determined to help raise money and awareness for the hospital and raised hundreds of thousands of pounds with two gruelling bike rides across the USA.

Most recently he had been rallying everyone to support a campaign by Cancer Research UK for World Cancer Day by joining him in wearing a Unity Band.

Matthew will be missed by so many and our sincere condolences go out to Matthew’s wife Stacey, his sons Siôr and Tal, family and friends. The thoughts of everyone at Dragons Rugby are with them all at this very sad time.

MJ was a hugely popular figure with fans, team-mates and staff alike at Rodney Parade...
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