Joined Newport RFC in 1961-62 from Cwmcelyn Youth but played odd game for Ebbw Vale and Pontypool while still a youth. Wales Youth. Debut vs Penarth 2nd September 1961 (Won 34 v 6). Played for Barbarians in first season in 1962 and Newport won Championship.
Key figure in Newport's epic win over Whineray's 1963 All Blacks setting up position for Uzzell's drop goal and kicked penalty to draw with Australia in 1966.
Vice Captain under Brian Price in 1963-64 and captained Newport for 3 seasons 1964-65, 1965-66 and 1966-67. Also captain in 1967-68 when he went north. Set dropped goal record of 14 in 1966-67.
Debut aged 20 for Wales vs England in 1963 partnering Clive Rowlands. Played 21 times for Wales (including Triple Crown 1964-65) and was captain three times in 1967. Led British Lions in 2 tests in Australia in 1966. Superb judgement in 1967 vs England (Keith Jarrett debut).
Superb 7's player never played on losing side for Newport.
In October 1967 he joined Salford Rugby League for 15,000 a then club record. Record points holder and steered them to RL Championship in 1974 and Challenge Cup Final in 1976 and played 6 times vs New Zealand, Australia and France, captained and coached Great Britain and Wales RL. Only player to have captained Great Britain at Union and League.
Appointed Newport Team Manager in 1992-93. Chairman and elected President in 2005. MBE.
"David Watkins An Autobiography" was published in 1980 by Cassell Ltd.
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In the match programme for Newport v New Zealand in October 1980 David reflected on the 1963 game against the All Blacks:-
"A Day I'll Never Forget till My Dying Days"
"By David Watkins, Newport-Wales-British Lions"
"October the 27th is a most important date in my diary, as that evening I will be having a reunion with 14 other Black and Ambers to celebrate our historic victory over Wilson Whineray's famous "All Blacks" on Wednesday 30th October 1963."
"At that time prior to our meeting with the "All Blacks" we were suffering, like the present Newport team, from lack of form. But this didn't prevent the team producing the form of a life time to inflict on that famous All Black team their only defeat of the tour. I only hope today's team can emulate the '63 team and they also can be assured of a place in history."
"The occasion on October 30th 1963 is still very fresh in my mind, as are two important blows which befell the Newport team prior to the big game. In our penultimate game, we were defeated at Rodney Parade by the Wasps by 5pts. to 3pts., while on the Sunday following, flank forward Brian Cresswell reluctantly withdrew from the side through injury during a training session, thus giving a youngster by the name of Keith Poole his second only appearance in a Newport jersey. Although as one critic put it, "he started the game as a boy but finished it a man"."
"We arrived on the 30th all ready to do battle "as a team of no hopers" according to the press and many of our supporters. What happened has passed into the history books and because of a brilliant display of disciplined rugby football, Newport - through one of the most famous drop goals in rugby history - achieved the impossible."
"The move leading up to our score will live in my memory for ever. It occurred mid-way through the second half when I was given the opportunity by Bob Prosser to make a midfield break before passing to Stuart Watkins, who in turn cross kicked to the All Black posts after making ground down the right wing; the ball was pounced upon by a rampant Newport pack, who rucked cleanly for Bob Prosser to feed John Uzzell going left, with what seemed like a two-man overlap, but "horror of horrors" John stopped in his tracks, took aim at a drop goal which, to the delight of everyone, scraped over the bar and made rugby history."
"But this was not a one-man show - who could forget the display of our pack, with Iron Man Glyn Davidge stopping everything that moved, the scrummaging of a very underrated front row, the line out skills of Brian Price and Ian Ford ensuring we had plenty of ball, and Keith Poole and Alan Thomas tackling and covering tirelessly. While the backs, under the leadership of that great general Brian Jones, tackled and used the ball sensibly. A performance by all 15, worthy of a club with Newport's tradition."
"The delight after the game was shared by players and spectators alike, and after that fine sportsman Wilson Whineray had visited our dressing room to offer his congratulations we were called out onto the balcony overlooking the ground to receive the cheers and acclaim from thousands of supporters. It was "A Day I'll Never Forget till My Dying Days" and hopefully today's team will emulate it against Graham Mourie's All Blacks."