Widnes Vikings have sacked head coach Denis Betts

Denis Betts
Denis Betts

Widnes have sacked long-serving head coach Denis Betts with immediate effect.

The 48-year-old former Wigan and Great Britain forward, who has been with the Vikings since November 2010, has paid the price for the club's dreadful start to the season, an eighth consecutive defeat last Friday consigning them to bottom spot and favourite 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."

Betts, who lost his job as England assistant coach earlier this year, arrived at Widnes from a spell in rugby union with Gloucester and guided the club to promotion from the National League within two years.

The Vikings took advantage of the franchise system in operation at the time to lay down firm roots in Super League and, under Betts, they finished a creditable seventh in 2016.

However, Betts has always had to operate on a shoestring budget and they have twice been forced to fight for survival via the Super 8s Qualifiers.

The last straw came when the team were booed from the pitch following their 19-6 home defeat by Wakefield last Friday.

Betts' assistant Francis Cummins, the former Leeds winger who joined the club last September, is expected to take temporary charge for Widnes' next match, a trip to Perpignan to take on Catalans Dragons on Saturday week.

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