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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 May, 2005, 10:22 GMT 11:22 UK
Millward appointed coach of Wigan
Ian Millward
Former St Helens coach Ian Millward has been appointed Wigan head coach.

Millward, sacked for gross misconduct by Saints, has signed a three-year deal and replaces Denis Betts, who stays at the club as the Australian's assistant.

Chairman Maurice Lindsay said Betts had "tremendous potential to be a top class coach" but felt the chance to bring in Millward was too good to ignore.

Wigan have lost eight of their 14 games and are in danger of failing to make the play-offs for the first time.

Lindsay said: "The club has been presented with the opportunity to secure the services of one of the world's most successful coaches

"No-one can question the record of Ian Millward who has a multi-winning track record.

But Lindsay insisted that the club were determined to keep hold of Betts.

"I can categorically say Denis will not be leaving this club. He is a young, potentially great, coach."

"He is perhaps a bit too young to do this job at the moment. Nevertheless he will always be with this club - he is not leaving under any circumstances."

"He inherited the team at a difficult time and his position wasn't helped by the loss of Andy Farrell and the critical injuries to Luke Davico, Gareth Hock and Sean O' Loughlin," he said.

I am a young coach, full of ambition and I realise that working with Ian will help me to reach my goals
Denis Betts

Lindsay added that he was not concerned about the circumstances of Millward's sacking by St Helens.

"It is nothing to do with the Wigan club. The simple facts are that Ian is a tremendously successful coach who gets the best out of all his players."

Millward guided St Helens to five major trophies in five years, including two Super League Grand Finals, two Challenge Cup finals and the 2001 World Club Challenge.

The 44-year-old will take the Warriors back to his old club for a Challenge Cup quarter-final tie on 25 June.

He said: "I'm delighted to be joining Wigan. As St Helens coach, they were always serious rivals but like everyone in the game, I have the utmost respect for their tradition and standing in the world game.

"I am tremendously excited by the prospect of joining a great club particularly as it comes so quickly on the back of the disappointing St Helens situation."

Betts said he was pleased to welcome Millward to the club.

"I am a young coach, full of ambition and I realise that working with Ian will help me to reach my goals.

"My first task is to help Ian and the club get through a difficult season. We have already started to build for next year and a bright future is ahead."

Interview: Wigan Warriors coach Ian Millward

Interview: Wigan Warriors owner Dave Whelan


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