|Full name||Denis C. Betts|
14 September 1969 |
Salford, Lancashire, England
|Height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
Denis C. Betts (born 14 September 1969 in Salford, Lancashire) is an English rugby league coach and former player. He is the current head coach of Widnes in the Super League. He played for Wigan in the Championship and Super League, for the Auckland Warriors in the Australian National Rugby League, and also represented England at the 1995 Rugby League World Cup. In total, he was capped 32 times for Great Britain. His usual position was as a second-row forward.
Betts attended Clarendon High School and has a younger brother, Darren Betts – also a talented rugby and football player who played for Salford in the 1990s. Betts was also a former Manchester United youth team player and was featured in an Inside United article in 2008 about former United players who went on to succeed in other sports.
Betts signed for Wigan from Leigh Miners ARL (also known as Leigh Rangers) on 14 October 1986.
Betts galvanised a great Wigan team, his own medal haul including six Championships, seven Rugby League Challenge Cups, three Premierships, four John Player/Regal Trophies and two Lancashire Cups. He also received the Lance Todd Trophy (1991) and the coveted Man of Steel Award (1995).
He played as an interchange/substitute, (replacing prop Ian Lucas) in Wigan's 22–17 victory over Salford in the 1988 Lancashire Cup final during the 1988–89 season at Knowsley Road, St. Helens on Sunday 23 October 1988, and played left-second row in the 5–4 victory over St. Helens in the 1992 Lancashire Cup final during the 1992–93 season at Knowsley Road, St. Helens on Sunday 18 October 1992.
He played left-second row in the 12–6 victory over Widnes in the 1988–89 John Player Special Trophy final during the 1988–89 season at Burnden Park, Bolton on Saturday 7 January 1989, played left-second row in the 24–12 victory over Halifax in the 1989–90 Regal Trophy final during the 1989–90 season at Headingley Stadium, Leeds on Saturday 13 January 1990, played left-second row in the 15–8 victory over Bradford Northern in the 1992–93 Regal Trophy final during the 1992–93 season at Elland Road, Leeds on Saturday 23 January 1993, and played left-second row in the 40–10 victory over Warrington in the 1994–95 Regal Trophy final during the 1994–95 season at Alfred McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield on Saturday 28 January 1995.
During the 1992–93 season Betts played at second-row forward for defending RFL champions Wigan in the 1992 World Club Challenge against the visiting Brisbane Broncos. After the 1993–94 season Betts travelled with defending champions Wigan to Brisbane, playing in the second row in the 1994 World Club Challenge victory over Australian premiers, Brisbane Broncos. Betts had the honour of scoring the opening try in the last game at Central Park, Wigan and the first try at the JJB Stadium.
At the height of the Super League War he signed a lucrative deal with the Auckland Warriors in 1995. He became the first player to win both England and Great Britain caps while at the Auckland Warriors. With Wigan team-mate Shaun Edwards ruled out with injury, Betts was selected to captain England from the second row in the 1995 Rugby League World Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, but Australia won the match 16–8 and retained the Rugby League World Cup.
Betts returned to Wigan in 1998, and played in the side that lost to Sheffield Eagles in the Challenge Cup Final that year. He missed the 1998 Super League Grand Final win that year through injury. Betts played for the Wigan Warriors at second-row forward in their 2000 Super League Grand Final loss against St Helens RLFC. He also played for Wigan from the interchange bench in their 2001 Super League Grand Final loss to the Bradford Bulls.
Betts was persuaded to retire from playing at the age of 32, to help Wigan get under the salary cap.
He made 32 appearances for Great Britain, the joint highest ever for a forward, and toured three times, in 1990, 1992 and 1996. He also captained England in the 1995 World Cup Final, which they lost to Australia at Wembley Stadium.
At the end of 2001, Betts moved into coaching as under-18s coach at Wigan, and progressed to under-21s, which he led to victory in the 2003 U21 Grand Final. In July 2003, Stuart Raper was sacked as Wigan coach, and he was replaced by Mike Gregory. Mike then appointed Betts as his assistant. Wigan's results improved and they went on reach the Grand Final, only to lose to Bradford. The following season, Wigan reached another final, losing this time to St Helens in the Challenge Cup final. Betts then took temporary charge in May 2004 when Gregory stepped down due to illness. He held the position for a year before he was moved sideways by the club to make way for the appointment of new head coach Ian Millward, who had left St Helens just two weeks earlier and was recruited for his experience. Betts continued to work under Millward until the end of the 2005 season but left in November after refusing to take a post as coaching the academy U21 side.
In January 2006 he took up a post as skills and development coach with Guinness Premiership rugby union club Gloucester, a position which he left in June 2010, despite having another year on his contract. Speaking about his time at Gloucester, he said "It's a really passionate place and I hope they can get the success they deserve. I really enjoyed the place, especially the match-day atmosphere and the Shed."
- "Wigan Rugby League - Coaching Register". CherryAndWhite. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- Leigh Miners Rangers – About Us
- "1988–1989 Lancashire Cup Final". wigan.rlfans.com. 31 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
- "1992–1993 Lancashire Cup Final". wigan.rlfans.com. 31 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
- "7th January 1989: Wigan 12 Widnes 6 (John Player Trophy Final)". wigan.rlfans.com. 31 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
- "13th January 1990: Wigan 24 Halifax 12 (Regal Trophy Final)". wigan.rlfans.com. 31 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
- "23rd January 1993: Bradford 8 Wigan 15 (Regal Trophy Final)". wigan.rlfans.com. 31 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
- "28th January 1995: Warrington 10 Wigan 40 (Regal Trophy Final)". wigan.rlfans.com. 31 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
- Malin, Ian (11 January 2006). "Rugby union: Gloucester gamble on Betts to help continue revival". The Guardian. London.
- "Coach Betts departs Gloucester". BBC News. 21 June 2010.
- "Betts in frame for England job". Sportinglife. 29 March 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
- Wilson, Andy (10 November 2010). "Denis Betts returns as head coach of Widnes". The Guardian. London.
- "Denis Betts to lead Widnes Vikings in Super League". The Guardian. London. 10 May 2011.
- Denis Betts Wigan Playing Career Page on the Wigan RL Fansite.
- Denis Betts Wigan Coaching Career Page on the Wigan RL Fansite.
- England Statistics at englandrl.co.uk
- Great Britain Statistics at englandrl.co.uk
- Statistics at rugbyleagueproject.org
- Coaching Statistics at rugbyleagueproject.org
- When Britain defeated the Aussies