David Watkins (rugby)

David Watkins
Personal information
Born (1942-03-05) 5 March 1942
Blaina, Wales
Playing information
Height 5 ft 6 in (168 cm)
Weight 10 st 3 lb (65 kg; 143 lb)
Rugby union
Position Fly half
Years Team Pld T G FG P
Ebbw Vale
1961–67 Newport
1962 Barbarians
1962–67 Crawshays
Total 0 0 0 0 0
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1963–67 Wales 21 2 3 15
1966 British and Irish Lions 6 2 2 12
Rugby league
Position Three-quarter back, Fullback
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1967–79 Salford 407 147 1,241 2,907
1979 Swinton
Total 407 147 0
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1968–79 Wales 16 2 34 4 74
1971–74 Great Britain 6 0 3 0 6
Coaching information
Years Team Gms W D L W%
Cardiff City Blue Dragons
Years Team Gms W D L W%
Great Britain

David Watkins MBE (born 5 March 1942)[1] is a Welsh former dual-code rugby international, having played both rugby union and rugby league football for both codes' national teams between 1963 and 1974. He captained the British and Irish Lions rugby union side and made six appearances for the Great Britain rugby league team.[2] With the Wales national rugby league team he played in every match of the 1975 World Cup and with English club Salford he played more than 400 games over 12 seasons


Watkins was born in Blaina, Wales on 5 March 1942. He played rugby union for Cwmcelyn Youth, as well as odd games for Ebbw Vale RFC and Pontypool RFC, becoming a Wales Youth International.

Rugby career


Joining Newport RFC in 1961, he made his début for Newport on 2 September that year against Penarth RFC. In his first season with Newport the team won the Welsh Championship. Watkins played for invitational team the Barbarians during his first season for Newport in 1962.

Watkins made his international début in 1963, at the age of 20 for Wales against England partnering Clive Rowlands. He was a key figure in Newport's epic win over Whineray's 1963 New Zealand All Blacks. He was vice captain of Newport under Brian Price in 1963–64 and went on to captain them for three seasons 1964–65, 1965–66 and 1966–67. He set the club dropped goal record of 14 in 1966–67, in all he scored 228 points including 55 dropped goals for Newport. He never played on the losing side for Newport at sevens. In 1967 Watkins assembled his own team to enter the first ever Glengarth Sevens at Davenport Rugby Club where he won the main competition.

Watkins led the Lions in two tests in Australia in 1966. He set up position for Uzzell's drop goal and kicked a penalty to draw with Australia in 1966. He played 21 times for Wales (including the 1964–65 Triple Crown) and was captain three times in 1967.

Against Years
England  1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967
Ireland  1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967
France  1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967
New Zealand  1963
Scotland  1963, 1964, 1965, 1966
South Africa  1964


In October 1967 Watkins signed to play rugby league, joining English club Salford for £15,000, a then club record. He was Salford's captain in 1967 and also in the Challenge Cup Final in 1969 when they were beaten by Castleford.

Watkins became Salford's record points scorer and steered them to victory in the Lancashire Cup Final in 1972 by beating Swinton at Wilderspool, Warrington. In the 1972–73 season he kicked a world record 221 goals in a season. He also holds the longest scoring run record in 92 consecutive matches for Salford from 19 August 1972 to 25 April 1974. Watkins totalled 929 points from 41 tries and 403 goals. The record refers to scoring consecutively for one club and does not include representative matches.

During the 1972–73 Northern Rugby Football League season Watkins played at centre, i.e. number 3, and scored 2-conversions in Salford's 7-12 defeat by Leeds in the 1972-73 Player's No.6 Trophy final at Fartown Ground, Huddersfield on Saturday 24 March 1973.

Watkins played Centre, i.e. number 3, and scored 1-try and 5-conversions in Salford's 25-11 victory over Swinton in the 1972 Lancashire Cup final during the 1972–73 season at Wilderspool Stadium, Warrington on Saturday 21 October 1972, played Centre, i.e. number 3, and scored 1-try and 3-conversions in the 9-19 defeat by Wigan in the 1973 Lancashire Cup final during the 1973–74 season at Wilderspool Stadium, Warrington on Saturday 13 October 1973.[4] During the 1973 Kangaroo tour, Watkins was selected to play for Great Britain against Australia in the 3rd Ashes Test as a reserve. He led Salford to the Championship in 1974. Watkins retired after being injured on the 1974 Australasian tour.

Watkins did not play (Gordon Graham played Centre) in Salford's 0-0 draw with Warrington in the 1974 BBC2 Floodlit Trophy final during the 1974–75 season at The Willows, Salford on Tuesday 17 December 1974, and played Centre, i.e. number 4, and scored 2-conversions in the 10-5 victory over Warrington in the 1974 BBC2 Floodlit Trophy final replay during the 1974–75 season at Wilderspool Stadium, Warrington on Tuesday 28 January 1975. He played in all eight of Wales' matches in the 1975 Rugby League World Cup tournament. For the 1975–76 Northern Rugby Football League season Salford won the Championship by finishing as League Leaders but lost the Premiership final. Watkins played for Salford at fullback, kicking two drop goals in the loss to St Helens RLFC. He finished that season as the League's top point scorer. Watkins' Testimonial match at Salford took place in 1977. During the 1978 Kangaroo tour Watkins captained Wales from fullback in their match against Australia. He scored all of Wales' points in the 8-3 loss.

During the 1975–76 Northern Rugby Football League season Watkins played at fullback, and scored 2-conversions in the 7-16 defeat by Widnes in the 1975 Lancashire Cup final at Central Park, Wigan on Saturday 4 October 1975. Watkins retired having set Salford's "Most Career Points" record with 2,907 points,[5] and is one of fewer than ten Welshmen to have scored more than 2,000 points in their rugby league career.[6] Watkins' rugby league career ended in 1979 after playing for Swinton for a season. He'd also played six international rugby league matches against New Zealand, Australia and France, and both captained and coached Great Britain and Wales.

During the 1978 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain and France, Watkins was selected to captain Wales from fullback in their one-off Test match against the Australians, scoring all of the home side's points in their 3-8 loss at St. Helen's Rugby and Cricket Ground in Swansea.

Coaching career

After he'd stopped playing Watkins coached rugby league. He was the Wales national team coach and also coached Great Britain, taking them to the final of the 1977 World Cup, which they lost by one point to the hosts, Australia.

Watkins coached in Wales for the Cardiff City club.


Watkins was appointed Newport RFC team manager in 1992–93 and later became the club's chairman when he was awarded an MBE. In 2006 Watkins, along with Falklands War hero Simon Weston, was installed as a patron of the Welsh Rugby League at a ceremony held in the Welsh Assembly. He was managing director of the Cardiff City Blue Dragons. In 2009, Watkins took over the position of Crusaders president from Jonathan Davies.[7]


  1. David Watkins rugby union profile Scrum.com
  2. "Gareth Thomas completes switch from union to Wales rugby league side Crusaders". telegraph.co.uk. London, UK: Telegraph Media Group Limited. 5 March 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2013.
  3. Fields of Praise, The Official History of the Welsh Rugby Union 1881–1981, David Smith, Gareth Williams (1980) pg472 ISBN 0-7083-0766-3
  4. "1973-1974 Lancashire Cup Final". wigan.rlfans.com. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  5. "Salfordat greyhoundderby.com". greyhoundderby.com. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  6. Robert Gate (1988). "Gone North – Volume 2". R. E. Gate. ISBN 0-9511190-3-6
  7. "Jonathan Davies". BBC News. 10 January 2011.

External links

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