Streaming details for the opening rounds of this year’s Challenge Cup and Championship have been announced by the RFL.
Sheffield Eagles and York City Knights will have the honour of kicking off the 2021 Rugby League season with their Challenge Cup First Round tie on Friday March 19.
The clash between Mark Aston’s Eagles – who famously won the Challenge Cup at Wembley in 1998, and returned to win the inaugural 1895 Cup in 2019 – and James Ford’s highly-fancied York team has been selected by the new tournament sponsors, Betfred, for live online coverage – with further details to be confirmed next week.
Super Saturday (March 20) begins at 12.45pm with Oldham versus Barrow Raiders, followed by London Broncos v Keighley Cougars (3pm), Whitehaven v Dewsbury Rams (5.15m) and finally Halifax’s first game as the Panthers, against Batley Bulldogs at The Shay (7.30pm).
On Sunday lunchtime, the focus switches to West Wales. Former rugby union international Gavin Henson and former England rugby league international Rangi Chase could make their debuts for the Raiders against Widnes at Stebonheath Park (12.45pm).
That will be followed by the Featherstone-Bradford tie, also streamed by the BBC, with the First Round completed by Newcastle’s trip to Heywood Road to face Swinton Lions (5.15pm) on Our League.
Details of the Second Round of the Challenge Cup, which will be played on the weekend of March 27-28, will be confirmed after the First Round ties.
Challenge Cup, First Round
Friday March 19 – Sheffield Eagles v York City Knights (7:45pm live from Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster – coverage tbc).
Saturday March 20 – Oldham v Barrow Raiders (12.45pm), London Broncos v Keighley Cougars (3pm), Whitehaven v Dewsbury Rams (5.15pm), Halifax Panthers v Batley Bulldogs (7.30pm) – all matches live on Our League, free to home season ticket holders, otherwise Pay Per View.
Sunday March 21 – West Wales Raiders v Widnes Vikings (12.45pm), Featherstone Rovers v Bradford Bulls (3pm) – both streamed live on BBC. Swinton Lions v Newcastle Thunder (5.15pm, live on Our League, free to home season ticket holders, otherwise Pay Per View.
Championship Round One details
The Championship campaign will begin on Good Friday with Oldham and Swinton Lions renewing their traditional Easter rivalry (5.15pm). After that is a West Yorkshire battle between Featherstone Rovers and Batley Bulldogs (7.30pm).
There are two more games on Easter Saturday, as York City Knights play their first game at the new LNER Stadium against Toulouse Olympique (5.15pm) before Dewsbury face Whitehaven for the second time in a fortnight, this time at the Tetley’s Stadium (730pm).
With the remaining three games on Easter Sunday, there will be no clashes with the Betfred Super League programme that weekend – meaning fans can watch more matches over Easter than ever.
Details for further rounds of the Championship in April will be delayed until there is further clarity on the timetable for the return of fans to grounds.
Championship, Round One
Good Friday, April 2: Oldham v Swinton Lions (515pm), Featherstone Rovers v Batley Bulldogs (7.30pm).
Easter Saturday, April 3: York City Knights v Toulouse Olympique (5.15pm), Dewsbury Rams v Whitehaven (7.30pm).
Easter Sunday, April 4: Sheffield Eagles v Bradford Bulls (12.45pm), Halifax Panthers v London Broncos (3pm), Newcastle Thunder v Widnes Vikings (5.15pm).