Watkins, John

World Rugby Museum

An outstanding wing forward who at a mere 14 stone also packed down for his Country at tight head. This memorable moment occurred when Stack Stevens had to leave the field with an injury during a tour of South Africa.

Born 28th November 1945 in Gloucester, John was educated at Linden Secondary Modern School and played for local club Gordon League before moving to Kingsholm.

John went on to make 386 1st XV appearances for Gloucester, scoring 104 tries, and appeared in the XV that won the RFU National Cup Competition in 1972 beating Moseley at Twickenham.

A seven times England international, Barbarian and member of the Gloucestershire County team that won the championship in 1974, 1975 and 1976.

Comments about this page

  • I idolised John as a young bloke nails hard and selfless . The reason I write this is I gave him my seat on a bus tonight and incredibly he remembered a less than average local rugby player.
    As humble as you could get. So after all these years a bloke who was average to say the most, recognises a great rugby player , a truly lovely bloke and a great Gloucester legend . I’ll remember that for a long time . Today it sounds old fashioned but respect is everything for the game and those who watch it and played it rarely understand

    By Glyn (09/04/2022)
  • Thanks for pointing this out, Graham, and you’ll now see that we’ve corrected the mistake in the date. Our Profile of John is admittedly completely inadequate, and dates back to 2009. We have already written a far more thorough and accurate Profile which will feature in our new book, to be published later this year, and in due course we will update the entry here on the website.

    By Dick Williams (31/05/2021)
  • John was born in 1945 – he’s my brother in law and I’m a week older!

    By Graham Thompson (30/05/2021)
  • The Heritage site has brought back many memories, not least when I played with John Watkins @ Gordon League in the late 60s before he went to Glos. An inspirational player who always gave 100%. When he and Mike Burton trained with us in their England track suits it gave us all a lift. Thanks John.

    By Rich Badham (12/05/2011)
  • Probably the most committed and dedicated Rugby player I ever saw. A real “honour” to be on the same field as him, and pleasure to be in his company off the field. Interestingly I only found out the other day that he was relatively late coming to Kingsholm, hence why he never made the 500 club!

    By Phil Pritchard (03/10/2010)
  • I remember a shopping trip in Glos in ’78, when I was just shy of eleven. I managed to catch Mr Watkins as he was cycling leisurely along Eastgate Street, and he kindly signed my scrap of paper and let me shake his hand. Still have the autograph. Legend

    By Alex (09/08/2010)
  • John is an absolute legend of the game and a true gentleman. I have been lucky enough to play in the same team as John not that many years ago and he was still a class player. I didn’t start playing rugby until my teenage years and if it wasn’t for John, I would never have kept playing.

    By Simon (05/05/2010)
  • Watkins, one of the most dynamic Elver Eaters ever, has a claim to fame shared by very few. In the space of twelve months he was in a winning England XV against South Africa and New Zealand in their own countries.

    By Harold Francis (22/12/2009)
  • This website is brilliant. John Watkins was my favourite player as a lad and I think it worth pointing out he captained the 1978 John Player Cup winning side.

    By Andrew Wise (30/11/2009)
  • It’s perhaps worth mentioning that John still loyally serves the game he loves as a referee – the local junior clubs regard themselves as fortunate and honoured to be allocated his services on a Saturday afternoon.

    By Malc King (17/08/2009)

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