Exclusive: Denis Betts set for surprise Wigan Warriors return as women’s head coach

Aaron Bower
Denis Betts Wigan Warriors Alamy

Wigan Warriors women's head coach Denis Betts

Wigan Warriors legend Denis Betts has held talks about returning to the club as head coach of their Women’s Super League side, Love Rugby League can reveal.

The 54-year-old has been in discussions with the Warriors about a sensational return to the club where he made his name as a player across two separate spells, as well as a stint as the club’s head coach in the mid-2000s.

He is now set to return to Wigan for a fourth stint, but this time as head coach of their Women’s Super League team as they plan for a major attack on the competition in 2024.

Betts has had talks that have been described as ‘constructive’ to Love Rugby League, with an appointment thought to be close.

If it happens, it will see Betts installed as the highest-profile head coach in the history of the WSL, with the former Great Britain forward returning to coaching in the women’s game with the club where his own playing career began.

Betts has not worked in rugby league since leaving his role as the director of rugby at Newcastle Thunder at the end of last season.

Denis Betts set to take over from Kris Ratcliffe as Wigan Warriors women’s head coach

Having previously coached Wigan and Widnes Vikings but will now make his move into the women’s game, with Betts set to replace outgoing coach Kris Ratcliffe, whose departure was announced on Tuesday morning following a decision by Ratcliffe to focus on his teaching career.

Ratcliffe has been in charge of the women’s side since June 2019 but will now likely be replaced by Betts.

“It has been a very special time in my life to coach at the club I have always supported,” Ratcliffe said of his own departure.

“I’ve had five memorable years and been privileged to watch the women’s game grow immensely during that period.

“I played my part in overseeing huge growth at the club from the creation of the very first women’s side to the wonderful pathway that is in place today.

“We now have a real route for young female Warriors fans to realise their dreams and one day pull on the famous Cherry and White.

“Thank you to all the staff that I have had the pleasure of working with over the years, many of whom have been volunteers, giving huge amounts of time and effort purely for the love of the club. Nothing would have been or will continue to be achieved without your support.”

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