Ex-Wales forward Alix Popham has taken to social media asking fans to honour the late Matthew Watkins in a special way during Tuesday’s live-streamed funeral service.

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It was March 7, the day of Wales’ Guinness Six Nations defeat away to England at Twickenham, that the ex-Test midfielder tragically passed away at the age of 41 from a rare form of pelvic cancer. 

The following weekend’s coronavirus-enforced postponement then dashed plans for a minute’s applause at a packed Principality Stadium in honour of Watkins prior to Wales’ round five match versus Scotland. It instead left the WRU remembering their former player by sharing their video tribute on social media. 

Now, with the funeral service due to take place at Thornhill Crematorium in Cardiff on Tuesday, Popham has urged fans to watch wearing team jerseys, badges or ties and post the pictures online.

Social distancing measures during the current coronavirus lockdown means only a maximum of ten people are able to attend the service in person, resulting in Popham’s alternative tribute suggestion. 

“I know there would have been thousands of friends, family and supporters who would have turned up because of what Matthew meant to them,” explained Popham in a video posted on social media.

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“I want to put out an idea that everybody tunes in and wears a club tie, a club jersey, a club badge just to show how much Matthew meant to them.”

The funeral of Watkins, who won 18 caps for Wales between 2003 and 2006 and retired in 2011 following a club career with Newport, Dragons, Scarlets and Gloucester, will be streamed by Blackwood’s Woodfield Park Funeral Directors from 2pm.

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