Cummins relishing Vikings role

Cummins relishing Vikings role

26th September 2017

Widnes Vikings’ new assistant coach, Francis Cummins, is relishing the opportunity to begin his new role this pre-season.

Cummins has worked at the highest levels of Rugby League throughout a 25-year professional career in the game. As a player, Francis represented Leeds Rhinos from 1993 to 2005, playing 358 games for the club. After retiring from the game, he went on to spend four years as assistant Coach of Leeds Rhinos, working with Tony Smith and Brian McClennan. In 2010, he became Assistant Coach of Bradford Bulls, rising to Head Coach in 2012.

In 2016, he joined Rugby Union team Doncaster Knights as their Outside Backs and Skills Coach, supporting them to reach playoff positions. However, Francis says that the opportunity to join the Vikings was an offer that he could not refuse.

“I know Denis from playing with him and against him, so it was great to get the call to come here. It’s exciting to be back in rugby league,” he said.

 “I’ve enjoyed my three years in rugby union but I’m pleased to be back in the game.”

 Cummins says that he is proud to be joining one of Rugby League’s great clubs and is excited to help the Vikings succeed in the Super League.   

 “I think back to my own childhood and Widnes had some real stars. My first coach was Dougie Laughton and I always think fondly of the club because of what he did for me. I played alongside Alan Tait, Richie Eyres, Harvey Howard, Mick O’Neill and Andy Gregory.”

 “Widnes is a great name in the game and you want to see them to do well in the top flight, not just for what they have done in the past but what they are doing now in developing young players. The town can be proud of its Club.”

 For Cummins, coaching is a life-long vocation and he takes real satisfaction in sharing his experience with players.

 “I’ve always coached, even throughout my playing career. At a young age, I was coaching young kids at my junior club. 

 “I think it’s all about seeing the potential in people and trying to help them fulfil it. I want players to have a good career in the game.”

 Francis believes in players expressing themselves on the field and says that he sees that same attitude at the Vikings.

 “In 2016, when the Club had a fully fit squad, they wanted to play. They used the ball well and it wasn’t about one up runs. The team has had a difficult time with injuries this year, but when everyone is on the field you can see they want to play. That suits my philosophy. I think it would be very difficult to assist at a Club where you don’t share the same philosophy. 

 “I like players to play and express themselves. rather than saying ‘no, you’re not allowed to do that’. I see that in Widnes - when they are on top and playing, you can see that they aren’t one dimensional.”

 The Vikings recently finished their 2017 season, retaining their Super League status for next year with a 12-10 victory over Catalans Dragons. Francis says that he can’t wait to get involved in pre-season and help to build foundations for a stronger season.

 “Pre-season is the time when you can make your gains, and you can really concentrate on the core stuff. It’s often basic things that you work on, but you focus on doing them very well. 

 “I’ve watched the team play from afar so I’m looking forward to getting stuck in, and seeing what the lads are about. We have to put the hours in to make sure next year is more successful than this one.”

 Be there to back the Vikings 2018 campaign. Stronghold Membership packages are on sale now!

Cummins relishing Vikings role