What the RFL can do in order to improve the Challenge Cup


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The Challenge Cup semi-final is only two days away where Wigan will take on rivals St.Helens and Hull KR take on Huddersfield which will take place at Elland Road for the first time in the Challenge Cup history.

Elland Road already has some experience with the uprights when Castleford Tigers took on the Leeds Rhinos in a one off game back in 2018.

However, the Challenge Cup the last couple of seasons have come under a lot of scrutiny with the current structure of the cup with the Super Leagues having to win just three games to get to Wembley (this season Tottenham Hotspur Stadium) and four wins to win.

You’ve also got the current structure of the semi-finals where both games are played back-to-back at the same stadium where the fans from the first game will leave after they have watched their game and will make it look empty for the second game which isn’t a good look for Rugby League.

Here is some things I would change to the Challenge Cup and reasons why.

Challenge Cup structure 

The Challenge Cup is made on cup upsets. However, we are currently not seeing it in the competition because near enough all the teams below the Super League is out of the Challenge Cup bar a couple of the top teams in the Championship like Featherstone, Leigh, Whitehaven, Sheffield.

If Super League came into the Challenge Cup in round three or four, it would allow these upsets to happen and also if they any of the teams below the Super League play at home, it would help them teams financially as the supporters of the top clubs in the top division will flood their bars and effectively could help these ‘smaller’ clubs in the long run.

In my opinion, it should look like this.

Round One- NCL.

Round Two- Championship, League One.

Round Three- Bottom Four of Super League the season before.

Round Four-Top 8 of Super League the season before.

Challenge Cup Semi-Finals

The Challenge Cup semi-finals is one of the best weekend in Rugby League because you find out who will play in the Challenge Cup Final and make history to play at Tottenham.

But the current structure of the semi-finals that were introduced back in 2018 means both games will be played at one stadium in one day.

It first took place in 2018 at the Macron Stadium in Bolton where we saw one of the biggest upsets ever in the challenge cup when Catalans defeated the class St.Helens team 35-16, with the next game seeing Warrington put a good score on a deflated Leeds side 48-12. I will get onto attendances soon but the attendance for these games were 26,086, which isn’t bad when the capacity of the Macron being capped at 28,723.

Once the first game is over, which usually is the most exciting game out of the two, both sets of supporters will leave the stadium due to coach travel or they don’t take any interest in that second game.

In my opinion and it may be the same for a lot of Rugby League fans, we should go back to the semi-finals on separate days and try to fill out the top rugby league stadiums as best we can.

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