Christchurch club rugby legend brings up 300-game milestone

Source: 1News

Notching up 300 club rugby games is no small feat - particularly for Christchurch's Philip Watson - who only happened to bring up the milestone after playing for Shirley by pure accident.

Chris Morel, Shirley club captain, told 1News “Ginga” arrived at their club in a mix of fate and confusion.

“Coming up from Ashburton, he got a little lost,” Morel recalled.

“He walked into the wrong changing shed and that's how he got with us and he hasn't left since - 19 years later!

“We're pretty happy about it.”

Watson said there was a little bit more to the story, including a chance meeting between himself and the coach in 2003, but he agreed about never looking back after it had played out.

“Once I went into the sheds and got to know the guys that was it for me,” Watson said.

“I wanted a club with culture. That's what I looked for and I found - a group of mates straight away and they're still my mates now from that first team.”

Watson became the first Viking to play 300 premier games, joining a handful of other Canterbury local legends to reach the milestone as his side beat Belfast 44-18.

Ahead of the milestone, he was surprised by family with a special match day jersey which he admits was an emotional moment.

“To have my two young boys and wife - I have told her a few years in a row ‘it’s my last year’ and I keep coming back and she tolerates it.”

On the park, Watson is a vital cog in Shirley's engine room and at 37-years-old, still plays a full 80 minutes.

But despite his impact and fitness, he told 1News the boots are about ready to be hung up for good.

“This is it. 100 per cent, no doubt this is the last year,” he said.