OWEN Watkin’s inclusion in Warren Gatland’s original Wales squad for the autumn series came as something of a surprise when he was selected over established internationals including Scott Williams and Jamie Roberts.

And 21-year-old Ospreys centre Watkin has openly admitted to being left “speechless” last week when he discovered head coach Gatland had given him the nod – the news left both his mum and gran in tears.

Watkin has paid tribute to those closest to him for the role they have played in his career so far, particularly as it’s one that has already been afflicted by serious injury.

In 2016, having suffered tendonitis in his left knee, Watkin, from Bryncethin near Bridgend, ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while preparing for last season.

“During the low times, I thought I was never going to get back but the physios and my mother and father were so positive,” he said. “I wouldn’t be in this environment without the support of those people really.

“When the squad was announced I was pretty speechless considering the amount I have played, and after my knee injury and having concussion.

“My mother and nan were in tears when they found out because they know it’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was born, I just wanted to play for Wales, and hopefully it will happen in the next few weeks.

“I’d be the first person from my club to play for Wales if it happens. Bryncethin are so supportive of me and when the squad was announced a lot of people turned up at my house to say well done.

“It would be a dream come true if I get picked but if I don’t it’s not the end of the world because I will have had a chance of learning from the best centres in Wales.

“To be around the best centres – Jonathan Davies, Owen Williams and Hadleigh Parkes – and learn from them will only help me improve.

“Hopefully, if I am selected, I will be ready for the challenge.”

Rugby is certainly in the Watkin family with dad Paul previously playing for Maesteg and Bridgend, mum Kathy turning out for Bryncethin women’s team and a brother currently representing Cardiff.