FORMER Great Britain international Denis Betts has quit his role as assistant to Wigan head coach Ian Millward, bringing to an end a 19-year association with the famous club.The 36-year-old, who had two years left on his contract, resigned from his post just six months after being demoted from head coach and a fortnight after apparently refusing to coach the club's under-21 team.A brief statement issued by Wigan said: "Denis Betts, who has been the assistant coach to Ian Millward, has resigned from his position and left the club with immediate effect. The club feel unable to comment at this stage."Betts' future at the JJB Stadium was cast into doubt when the club issued a press release earlier this month claiming that he had refused to take charge of their academy team following the return to Australia of Adrian Lam.That job was instead undertaken by Millward's other assistant, fellow Australian Andrew Farrar, with Betts cast further into the wilderness.Betts, one of Wigan's modern greats, tonight confirmed that he had resigned but said: "I can't comment at this stage. It will all come out in the fullness of time."The second row forward joined Wigan from Leigh Rangers amateur club in 1986 and was a member of the all-conquering team that dominated rugby league in the late-Eighties and early Nineties.He joined the newly-formed Auckland Warriors in 1995 but returned to Wigan three years later and in 2000 had the honour of scoring the first try at the JJB Stadium.Betts, who won 30 caps with Great Britain, was awarded a testimonial in 2001 but was persuaded to hang up his boots at the age of 32 in order to help Wigan get under the salary cap.After cutting his coaching teeth with the club's academy team, he quickly found himself propelled into the hot seat when Mike Gregory was taken ill after the Challenge Cup final of 2004.An horrific run of injury, compounded by the loss of hugely-influential skipper Andy Farrell, exposed the inexperience of both Wigan's back-up players and their rookie head coach and he was pushed to one side in May when Millward was appointed.Betts was made Millward's assistant and given a new two-and-a-half-year contract but could now be lost to the game.He has recently been linked with a move into rugby union with Gloucester, who are thought to be looking for a defensive coach.- - - - -Thanks to www.superleague.co.uk for this report.
FORWARD Lance Thompson and the St George Illawarra Dragons parted ways tonight, reportedly by mutual agreement.
HERE'S a sneak peek to next season's first five rounds worth of fixtures. Be sure to check out your favourite teams and where they'll be.
THE Kiwis are counting the cost of their clash with Great Britain on Saturday night at Huddersfield.
NEW Zealand stand-off Nigel Vagana has been handed a one-match ban for the tackle that left Great Britain scrum-half Paul Deacon with horrific facial injuries.
CARDIFF Demons prop Dave Roberson has been named as the new Development Officer and Community Sports Coach for National League Two side London Skolars. He will start his full-time role at the club on November 28 and will re-unite with original Demons coach Stuart Singleton who is captain of the Skolars.
Roberson has been playing for the Taffs Well-based Cardiff Demons since their first match in the Rugby League Conference in 2001, helping the club to three trophies in that period. The 31 year old also played and scored a try for Wales A against Scotland in 2001. In addition to his Demons role, Roberson has been assistant coach of UWIC for the last two years, a role he also took with the Wales Students side who reached the Shield Final in the World Cup in Australia this summer and with Great Britain students on their ground-breaking tour of Estonia.
Roberson said: "I initially applied the role at Harlequins RL (formerly London Broncos) but they cut the number of positions from three to two so they recommended me to the Skolars. I'm looking forward to the challenge."
Roberson will be keeping his house in Cardiff and is looking forward to a return to South Wales next year when the Skolars face new Welsh club, Celtic Crusaders.
"There's already been a bit of banter between Crusaders coach John Dixon and myself this week," adds Roberson, "I wish him and the Crusaders the best of luck in the their first season and I'm looking forward to crossing swords with him at the Brewery Field later next year."
STANDOFF Nigel Vagana will be available for the Tri-Nations final should the Kiwis make it and he could yet partner Stacey Jones in the halves, with the Kiwi halfback set to extend his international comeback against France on Saturday morning.
NEW Zealand's Nigel Vagana will will appear before a meeting of the three-man Rugby League International Federation Disciplinary Committee on Tuesday charged with an alleged high tackle which put Great Britain's Paul Deacon out of the Tri-Nations.
AUSTRALIA'S Tri Nations defence could receive a boost with injured five-eighth Trent Barrett confident of proving his fitness at training in Manchester today.
GREAT Britain flanker Brian Carney says Matt King ? his Australian rival in Saturday night's Tri Nations showdown - is the best winger in the world.
DAN Falvey and Oliver Hughes from Cardiff Demons and Daniel Phillips and Lee Williams from Aberavon Fighting Irish have all been named in the Great Britain Amateur under 18 squad for their Autumn International series.
RFL boss Richard Lewis this week tried to scorch rumours that the 2006 Tri-Nations will not be held in Australasia as planned. Reports on the weekend indicated that the ARL were concerned that, with the prospect of a poor crowd to a possible Australia-NZ final, this years tournament will run at a loss. However according to Richard Lewis such concerns have not been discussed at Federation level. Lewis told the BBC, ?I?ve had no indication of any question marks or issues about the Tri-Nations future?
GREAT Britain scrum-half Paul Deacon has had successful surgery following a facial injury that at one time was thought to be life-threatening.
WINGER Mark Calderwood was on Monday called into the Great Britain squad for the closing stages of the Gillette Tri-Nations Series.
GREAT Britain coach Brian Noble says he'll happily give the order for a field goal in Saturday night's Tri Nations clash if it means eliminating Australia from the final.