Former Gloucester rugby player Matthew J Watkins has died at the age of 41.

The player - who signed for the Kingsholm club at the end of the 2007–08 season - has been fighting cancer for seven years after being diagnosed at the age of 34.

Former clubs and teammates have paid tribute to him.

The Welsh born player started playing in Wales and rose through the ranks.

When he joined Gloucester he said “When you talk of massive clubs in England and Europe, Gloucester are right up there and I am very fortunate that I now have the opportunity to test myself with them," he added.

"Their ambition is to be challenging regularly for honours and that is why this move is of such importance to me. It is a fantastic opportunity to take my career in a new and fresh direction and I cannot wait to get started."

But he returned to Wales soon after and found out he had bone cancer.

Dragons and Scarlets also paid tribute to the player who fundraised for cancer charities after his playing career ended.

The Newport Dragons, where he played after leaving Gloucester, said:

Everyone at Dragons Rugby is deeply saddened at the passing of our former player Matthew J Watkins.

Newport Dragons