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Challenge Cup Changes
Post Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:23 am
Posted by Karen on Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:23 am
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2019 Challenge Cup Final Day – a new deal and a new competition for the RFL and Wembley Stadium

The Rugby Football League today confirms not only the date for the 2019 Challenge Cup Final at Wembley Stadium connected by EE – Saturday August 24 – but also a July date for the 2020 Final, a new long-term agreement with Wembley, and a new competition – the 1895 Cup - which means a bumper new-look programme of three matches on Challenge Cup Final Day.

Tickets go on open sale today for the 2019 Wembley Stadium showpiece, along with dates for the eight rounds on the Road to Wembley – which will begin next month with the draw for the First Round to be played on January 26-27.

But for supporters of Championship and League One clubs, there’s an extra reason to make a note of Challenge Cup Final Day – as they will have a second chance to reach Wembley next year, in the 1895 Cup.
Full details will be announced with the Betfred Championship and League One fixtures on Sunday week, but the clubs have agreed after a meeting last week to introduce the new competition.

All but one of the 12 English Championship clubs have previously won the Challenge Cup, sharing a total of 30 Cup wins – from Batley, who were the first winners in 1897, to Bradford Bulls, the most recent to do so in 2003.

In addition three League One clubs – Hunslet, Oldham and Workington Town – are also former Challenge Cup winners, although in Oldham’s case famously never at Wembley.

But only Sheffield Eagles and Bradford have played in a Challenge Cup Final at Wembley during the Super League era (since 1996), and none of the Championship or League One clubs have reached the new Wembley Stadium since the Challenge Cup Final returned to its spiritual home in 2007.

The introduction of the 1895 Cup means that there will be three Finals at Wembley Stadium next August – as the Steven Mullaney Memorial Match (the RFL Champion Schools Final for Year 7s), which has long been established as a popular curtain-raiser to the Challenge Cup Final, will also remain a key part of the day.

The RFL have also extended their partnership with Wembley – which has staged 76 Challenge Cup Finals since the first between Wigan and Dewsbury in 1929 – until 2027, which will therefore be the 85th at the Stadium.

Next year’s Challenge Cup Final Day will stick to what has become a regular place on the calendar, the August Bank Holiday Weekend. But in 2020, there will be a move forward to Saturday July 18.

Ralph Rimmer, the chief executive of the Rugby Football League, said: “This is a significant and exciting day for the Challenge Cup, and the game’s relationship with Wembley Stadium.

“Next year we will celebrate the 90th anniversary of the first Challenge Cup Final at Wembley in 1929. Rugby League is proud of the length and strength of that association – Wembley Stadium has been the setting for so many of the greatest matches and memories in the game’s history, with Catalans Dragons writing another chapter when they became the first overseas club to win the Cup earlier this year.
“We are therefore delighted to confirm the extension of that relationship until 2027.
“We believe the introduction of the 1895 Cup will give that relationship another boost. It’s a recognition that the game has changed since the onset of full-time professionalism in the Super League era, meaning that for a good number of the Championship and League One clubs who have won the Challenge Cup in the past, reaching Wembley currently seems a distant dream. This innovation makes that dream of Wembley much more realistic and achievable.

“We’ve seen in football, with the EFL Trophy that was introduced for teams for the third and fourth tiers of their professional structure as the Associate Members’ Cup in 1983, that the introduction of a realistic additional chance to reach Wembley can have a rejuvenating effect on clubs.
“With the 1895 Cup, we want to recognise the contribution of our non-Super League clubs to the game’s history since its founding as the Northern Union 123 years ago – and provide an exciting new chance for their players and supporters to taste the magic of Wembley.
“With the Steven Mullaney Memorial Match continuing to provide a unique opportunity for some potential future stars to play at Wembley Stadium, we’ve tried to create a Challenge Cup Final Day package which will breathe new life into Rugby League’s big day out.”

Confirmed Challenge Cup Round Dates for 2019:

Round 1 – 26th/27th January
Round 2 – 9th/10th February
Round 3 – 9th/10th March
Round 4 – 30th/31st March
Round 5 – 13th/14th April
Round 6 – 11th/12th May
Quarter-Finals – 1st/2nd June
Semi-Finals – 27th/28th July
Final – Saturday 24th August - Wembley Stadium connected by EE

The draw for Round 1 of the 2019 Challenge Cup will take place week commencing December 10th. Further details to follow soon.
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Re: Challenge Cup Changes
Post Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:10 am
Posted by Wilde 3 on Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:10 am
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I like the ideas - bringing the date forward, as well as the introduction of the new cup competition. If, for example, Bradford and Widnes got there, then you are looking at another 12-15k on the gate potentially which is good. Be interesting to see at what point they enter that competition though, as I don't think they should enter that cup instead of the CC
Re: Challenge Cup Changes
Post Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:13 am
Posted by ccs on Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:13 am
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...they can compete for both cups " they will have a second chance to reach Wembley next year, in the 1895 Cup."

As long as they don't put back the CC to a 17:00 kick off, it sounds good.

edit: the more I think about it, the less good it gets. :(
Last edited by ccs on Wed Nov 14, 2018 1:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Re: Challenge Cup Changes
Post Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:36 am
Posted by Karen on Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:36 am
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ccs wrote:
...they can compete for both cups " they will have a second chance to reach Wembley next year, in the 1895 Cup."

As long as they don't put back the CC to a 17:00 kick off, it sounds good.

I think it could well be an evening kick off because they have the Year 7s Championship to play too.
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Re: Challenge Cup Changes
Post Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:12 pm
Posted by Armavinit on Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:12 pm
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Sounds as though they’re reinstating The Plate. What happens if the top League 1 teams progress in The Cup and can’t take place in the rounds?
Re: Challenge Cup Changes
Post Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:16 pm
Posted by Armavinit on Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:16 pm
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ccs wrote:
...they can compete for both cups " they will have a second chance to reach Wembley next year, in the 1895 Cup."

As long as they don't put back the CC to a 17:00 kick off, it sounds good.

The schools game will probably be an earlier kick off, and use the Championship final as the curtain raiser? Pretty much like the erlier Grand Final double headers.
Re: Challenge Cup Changes
Post Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:42 pm
Posted by bonaire on Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:42 pm
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Armavinit wrote:
The schools game will probably be an earlier kick off, and use the Championship final as the curtain raiser? Pretty much like the erlier Grand Final double headers.


They will have to do it that way round to keep the fans in the ground.
Only problem is the main game will be a later kick off
Re: Challenge Cup Changes
Post Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:30 pm
Posted by UllFC on Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:30 pm
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Wilde 3 wrote:
I like the ideas - bringing the date forward, as well as the introduction of the new cup competition. If, for example, Bradford and Widnes got there, then you are looking at another 12-15k on the gate potentially which is good. Be interesting to see at what point they enter that competition though, as I don't think they should enter that cup instead of the CC



Agree, even as a worst case two league1 teams or Toronto would get 500 each, so thats 1k tickets sold for little extra cost, also stops it feeling like an SL only event.
Re: Challenge Cup Changes
Post Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:58 pm
Posted by Jake the Peg on Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:58 pm
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Maybe another chance for rovers to win at wembley with the lower division comp?
Re: Challenge Cup Changes
Post Wed Nov 14, 2018 1:24 pm
Posted by Mild mannered Janitor on Wed Nov 14, 2018 1:24 pm
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bonaire wrote:
They will have to do it that way round to keep the fans in the ground.
Only problem is the main game will be a later kick off



Agreed about the kick off time of the main event. This needs to be well thought out with public transport in mind to give those who want to travel to and from on the day a chance of doing so via the train.


I have no issue with the final being moved. In reality the gap in time between the quarter final and the semi final was far too long. I would suggest that there should be approx a 4 week gap between each round. This would mean the winning semi finalists fans have a reasonable amount of time to get a decent deal.


I still think the final would have been best served by moving it around the country (Cardiff / Edinburgh / London) on a cyclical basis.


Double headed semi final seemed to work well this year.
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