Francis Cummins appointed Widnes interim head coach after Denis Betts is axed

Coach Francis Cummins. PIC: Marie Caley/Doncaster Knights
Coach Francis Cummins. PIC: Marie Caley/Doncaster Knights
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Former Leeds Rhinos captain and assistant-coach Francis Cummins has been appointed interim head coach of Widnes Vikings who today sacked long-serving team boss Denis Betts.

Betts, 48, a former Wigan and Great Britain forward who was with Widnes since November 2010, was axed after an eighth consecutive defeat, by Wakefield Trinity last Friday, consigned them to bottom spot in Betfred Super League and made them favourites for a second successive wooden spoon. Widnes said in a statement: “The club would like to put on record its thanks for his contribution, for eight seasons.”

Axed Widnes 'Vikings head coach Denis Betts. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Axed Widnes 'Vikings head coach Denis Betts. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Cummins, said: “It is never easy to take on a role in circumstances like these, but I am ready to step up and support the team at this time. On behalf of myself, and all of the coaching, playing and back-office staff, I would like to thank Denis and wish him every success in the future.

“In stepping up as interim head coach, I will be looking to support our players to fulfil their potential, to express themselves on the field, and to grow in confidence. The backing of our members and supporters is absolutely vital to achieving this. We have a number of tough away fixtures coming up, before our next home game in July, so this collective unity and support will be key.

“I am hoping that everyone can rally around the team, to support them to have a strong finish to the season.”