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Wales in mourning for former centre Matthew J Watkins

Former Wales centre Matthew J Watkins has died at the age of 41, the Welsh Rugby Union has announced.

Watkins, who won 18 caps for his country, was diagnosed with pelvic cancer in 2013. The disease later spread to his head, Watkins revealed in January.

He began his career as a teenager with hometown club Newport, before moving on to Llanelli, becoming part of the Scarlets side in the early years of regional rugby in Wales.

Spells with Gloucester and the Dragons followed before Watkins retired in 2011. His first Wales cap came in 2003, against Italy.

The national team will wear black armbands against England in Saturday’s Six Nations match in memory of Watkins.

The Scarlets said they were “deeply saddened” by news of Watkins’ death, describing him as “a silky-skilled, creative midfielder, who was a hugely popular figure among our supporters, the playing squad and staff”.

Expressing similar sorrow, the Dragons said Watkins, who raised many thousands of pounds for cancer charities, would “be missed by so many”.

KEO.co.za News wire is powered by opta

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