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Challenge Cup: Date, odds, teams, how to watch, history & more

The Challenge Cup is the world's oldest cup competition in either code of rugby and the annual event is organised by the Rugby Football League.

The first ever Challenge Cup was held in 1896 and it is open to all eligible clubs down to Tier 5, which allows teams in regional leagues to compete against professional teams should they advance far enough.

Every year, the Challenge Cup runs alongside Super League, giving British rugby league teams the chance to win further silverware each year.

Challenge Cup Date

  • Round 1 - 13th-14th January
  • Round 2 - 27th-28th January
  • Round 3 - 10th-11th February
  • Round 4 - 22nd-25th February
  • Round 5 - 7th-10th March
  • Round 6 - 22nd-24th March
  • Quarter-finals - 12th-14th April
  • Semi-finals - 18th-19th May
  • Final - 8th June

The modern Challenge Cup has eight rounds prior to the final, with teams entering at different stages depending on their seeding.

The first round gets underway in January, with 20 clubs competing for a place in the second round. A further 20 compete in round two at the end of January, while 32 teams are named in the third-round draw in February.

Round four, which consists of 16 teams, gets underway towards the end of February before round five sees eight sides compete for the chance to take on the best of Super League.

Round six, which is scheduled to take place at the end of March, sees all 12 Super League teams enter the competition, meaning there are 16 clubs in the hat.

The quarter-finals are booked in for April, while the semi-finals will take place a month later.

Each year the Challenge Cup final previously took place in August, but as part of IMG's takeover of rugby league in the UK, the showpiece has been moved to June from 2024.

Challenge Cup Time

The 2024 Challenge Cup final will take place on Saturday 8th June, in what will be a triple-header.

Fans can watch three games in one day, with the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final taking place alongside the Women's and Men's Challenge Cup finals.

The official kick-off time for the Men's final is 15:00, with the Women's edition starting at 11:45. Those who want to stay for the 1895 Cup final can watch that match from 17:45.

Challenge Cup Venues

Numerous venues are used throughout the competition, as teams play each tie either on their home ground or at the home stadium of their hosts.

When teams reach the semi-finals, the four teams play at neutral venues to try and level the competition.

In recent years, Headingley, the Halliwell Jones Stadium and Leeds United's Elland Road have been used as semi-final venues, with neither the Leeds Rhinos nor Warrington Wolves making the last four in 2022 or 2023.

Challenge Cup How to watch

Challenge Cup games are available via the BBC on terrestrial television, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Red Button.

Further games are also broadcast on The Sportsman's streaming service on YouTube.

Challenge Cup Odds

Wigan Warriors are the favourites for this year's Challenge Cup as they go in search of their 21st title.

Matty Peet's spell in charge has been a resounding success, and he won the competition during his first year in charge. He followed that up last season by helping the Cherry and Whites win both the League Leaders' Shield and the Super League Grand Final.

Peet and the rest of his coaching staff were recently awarded new seven-year deals after also winning the World Club Challenge in February, and they will expect their team to go all the way at odds of 5/2.

Local rivals St Helens are 4/1 to lift the trophy, while French outfit Catalans Dragons are priced up at 7/1.

Warrington Wolves, who are in their first year under coach Sam Burgess, are available at the same price as the Dragons, while Leeds, Hull KR and defending champions Leigh Leopards are all priced up at 17/2.

The remaining Super League clubs are Huddersfield Giants (12/1), Salford Red Devils (20/1), Hull FC (22/1), Castleford Tigers (28/1) and London Broncos (80/1).

Four Championship teams remain in the competition ahead of round six, but Featherstone Rovers (150/1), Halifax (200/1), Batley (250/1) and Sheffield Eagles (500/1) are all expected to struggle in their quest to reach the latter stages of the competition.

This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.

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