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“About bloody time” – Fans react to new Challenge Cup structure

Challenge Cup trophy

The Challenge Cup has had changes to its structure ahead of the 2025 season, and fans have been reacting on social media.

Previously, Super League clubs didn’t join the competition until the sixth round – meaning a maximum of four teams could be drawn to have a game against Super League opposition.

Now, however, Super League sides will enter in the Third Round, the RFL have announced, and they will have to play away to lower-division sides that won in the Second Round.

Therefore, twelve sides will get at least one game against top-level opposition, potentially proving vital financially for some smaller sides.

The RFL also confirmed that the final would take place at Wembley Stadium.

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Leigh Leopards celebrate at Wembley

2023

Fans react to new Challenge Cup structure

Players line up at Wembley Stadium for a Challenge Cup final.

Credit: Imago images

This seems to be one of the only RFL decisions in recent years that has been met with positivity from fans, with many suggesting that this is a move that should have been made a long time ago.

While this in itself looks to be a positive change, some noted the competition’s struggles with TV coverage this season.

None of the Sixth Round games were shown on mainstream channels this season, and just two of the quarter-finals were available on the BBC.

One pointed out that the cup was skewed towards Super League sides – and indeed, we haven’t seen many lower-division sides making impressive cup runs this season, as Super League sides have tended to stand in their way at the Sixth Round stage.

They also saw a potential problem for the sides involved in the 1895 Cup at the same time – it kicks off early in the year, before the RFL Championship and League One seasons begin, and the changes would see these sides potentially having to fit both competition in.

One solution may be to remove the group stagte element of the 1895 Cup to cut down on the number of games.

Short and sweet to end it – a return to old glory for the Challenge Cup?

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