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Denis Betts’ best season with Widnes was in 2014, securing a top-eight spot and a Challenge Cup semi-final

Widnes Vikings have sacked head coach Denis Betts, ending his eight-year association with the Super League club.

Betts, 48, oversaw Widnes’ progression from the Championship to Super League after they were awarded a place in the last round of franchising.

He led the Vikings to the Challenge Cup semi-finals in 2014, but only twice has secured a top-eight league finish.

Assistant boss Francis Cummins is expected to take on the post on an interim basis.

The Vikings are currently bottom of the Super League table, with three wins from 12 games this season and a sixth round Challenge Cup exit at the hands of Leeds.

Betts, who has also spent time as assistant to England coach Wayne Bennett, was the longest-serving head coach in the division before his exit.

Reviving a sleeping giant

The former Great Britain international enjoyed a stellar playing career with England, Wigan and Auckland Warriors – and was given the chance to revive a sleeping giant when he took over at Widnes in 2010.

Despite a haul of trophies from the 1970s and 1980s that earned the club the nickname of ‘The Cup Kings’, the Vikings had been out of the top flight since 2005 but received a licence to return in 2012, and Betts managed the switch from the second tier to the top tier.

Recruitment, although limited by budgets at times during Betts’ spell in charge, saw players of the calibre of England half-back Kevin Brown, Australia back-rower Chris Houston and full-back Rhys Hanbury wear the black and white.

In addition, academy talent such as current captain Joe Mellor, hooker Danny Walker and back-row forward Matt Whitley has progressed to the first-grade squad.

However, results have been Betts’ downfall, with a bottom-of-the-table finish last term and a continuation of disappointing results in 2018.

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