Warwick Arthur Watkins

Date Of BirthFebruary 8, 1950
Place of BirthNewcastle
SchoolGrafton High School, NSW
Debut ClubArmidale City (NSW)
DiedNovember 12, 2019
CapsUncapped - unused reserve vs. New Zealand 1980

Warwick Watkins was a determined, competitive and late-blooming hooker who was part of the first ever Australian side to successfully defend the Bledisloe Cup.

Born in Newcastle, Watkins rowed during his secondary school years at Grafton High School. It was not until he attended Hawkesbury Agricultural College that Watkins played his first rugby. Watkins studied Agriculture, from which he graduated with honours, before a stint at the University of New England where he attained a Masters in Natural Resources.

Post studies, Watkins gained employment in the New South Wales government’s Soil Conservation Service and he settled in the Southern Tablelands at Goulburn. Watkins was part of two Southern Highlands grand-final winning sides (1974 & 1975) in just four seasons with the Dirty Reds but he then returned to Armidale and joined the all-conquering Armidale City club, a team with whom he enjoyed five consecutive New England Rugby Union first grade premierships (1976-80).

From Armidale City, Watkins was selected for New England in the Country Week tournaments before he earned his first break into representative rugby in 1978 when chosen for NSW Country against Five Nations Grand Slam champions Wales (L 0-33) at Cobar. The following season Watkins earned his first Waratahs cap, against Ireland (L 12-16), before he faced the tourists for a second time in 11 days, this time as captain of Country, in the home side’s 7-28 loss in Orange. Those experiences fed a desire in Watkins who stated: “Two years ago my ambition was to represent Country and then to play for NSW. Now I’ve got one rung left and I won’t be satisfied until I’ve got to the top”.

Early in 1980 Watkins, under the stewardship of master coach Dick Laffan, led NSW Country on a highly successful pre-season tour of New Zealand. The side won five of its eight matches, the most memorable of which was a 9-6 defeat of Waikato.

Although Manly’s Bruce Malouf then went on to wear the Waratahs number two jersey for the first two matches of the representative season - against Queensland and New Zealand - the selectors opted for Watkins as deputy to Bill Ross in each of the three home Tests, a series of great importance given Australia were defending the Bledisloe Cup for just the third time in its 48-year history.

Unfortunately for Watkins he sat unused on the bench for all 240 minutes of the series however any disappointment with a missed potential debut was overshadowed by the Wallabies’ pulsating 2-1 victory.

In 1981, Watkins played his final Country week before he formally retired to concentrate on his career in Government. In 2000, Watkins was appointed as New South Wales’ 24th Surveyor-General and five years later was made an Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Surveyors NSW. Watkins was also a Fellow of the Australian Property Institute, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences.


1980 Watkins was chosen as reserve hooker in each of the three home Tests against New Zealand.

Warwick Arthur Watkins CW profile