Widnes appoint Francis Cummins as new assistant

Francis Cummins has secured a return to Rugby League as Denis Betts’ assistant at Widnes.

Cummins, who coached Bradford Bulls for two years between 2013 and 2014, has been selected to become Betts’ new number two with current assistant Brett Hodgson returning to Australia to take up a coaching role at Wests Tigers.

The 40-year-old has most recently been the skills coach at rugby union side Doncaster, who play in the second tier of the sport’s league structure.

However, he will return to the 13-man code to assist at the Vikings, three years since leaving Bradford after being at the helm during a tough period in which the Bulls endured serious financial difficulties.

Cummins was removed from his position at the Bulls shortly before their relegation from Super League was confirmed that year. However, he was widely praised for his handling of the situation, with Bradford entering administration during his time in charge of the team.

As a player, he represented Leeds Rhinos from 1993 to 2005, playing 358 games for the club and represent Great Britain, England and Ireland.

“I’m delighted to be joining Widnes Vikings and to be back in Rugby League,” he said.

“Widnes Vikings are a great club and I am excited to have the opportunity to work with their players next season.

“As a coach, I like to see the potential in players and to encourage them to express themselves on the field. I’m looking forward to using the experience from my playing career and my twelve years in coaching to support the progress of the Vikings, alongside Denis and the coaching team.”

Betts added: “Francis has great experience as a player and a coach, and will enhance us as a group. He has worked hard within coaching for many years, proving his abilities in tough environments.

“It was important for me to find a coach who has played at the highest levels as an outside back, and can relate well to our players in these positions. This appointment makes our coaching team stronger and I am looking forward to working alongside Francis next season.”