Betts to hand Sculthorpe Widnes chance

Danny Cculthorpe is being given the chance by Widnes to revive his career after more than a year out of action. The former Wigan prop was released by Bradford without playing a game for them, because of an infection that set in after a back operation.

"It's a long time out of anyone's career, but I know what he could do for us," said the Widnes coach, Denis Betts. "I coached him at Wigan and I know that he's capable of giving us that extra dimension. He can do things that surprise people. He's only 30 and he's looking in great shape."

Sculthorpe, the younger brother of former Great Britain captain Paul, trained with his prospective new team-mates for the first time last night.

He will play for the Vikings on a trial basis while he tries to demonstrate that his particular brand of ball-handling front-row play can add something to their pack. "I want players who want to play for Widnes and he certainly falls into that category," said Betts, who was speaking at the launch of the Northern Rail Cup in Halifax.

Betts, who spent four and a half years with Gloucester, is not the only former Great Britain star returning to the game at this level. Garry Schofield, who has taken the reins at Barrow 13 years after his last coaching job, gave notice of his ambition by declaring that the club would be ready to step up to Super League if Wakefield fold before the start of the season.

"I'm not saying we could compete with the top half of Super League, because we couldn't," he said. "But we could compete with the bottom clubs. Our aspiration is to be a Cumbrian presence in Super League."