The 2022 Women’s Rugby League season starts this weekend with the group stages of the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup.
And, to kick off a year which builds to a home World Cup in the autumn, BBC Sport will show the first match of the season as Cup holders St Helens travel to Barrow Raiders Ladies.
Watch it live on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website from 2pm Saturday, March 12 – the first part of a Cumbrian double, as BBC Sport will also cover the men’s Betfred Challenge Cup tie between Barrow Raiders and Workington Town the following day (1pm).
Saints, who clinched a double of Challenge Cup and Betfred Women’s Super League in 2021, are one of 16 teams drawn into four groups of four teams – all aiming to reach the 2022 Final which will also break new ground on Saturday May 7 as it is staged at Elland Road, as part of a triple header also including the men’s Challenge Cup semi finals which will be covered by BBC Sport.
That will be followed by the start of the BWSL season later in May – and the stakes are higher than ever for the Women’s and Girls’ game in 2022 as preparations continue for the World Cup this autumn, following its postponement in 2021.
Thomas Brindle, the RFL’s Head of Growth:“Women’s Rugby League comes back stronger than ever in 2022 – and this announcement of live coverage on BBC Sport of St Helens launching their defence of the Challenge Cup at Barrow is a great start.
“We have more teams than ever participating in our flagship league and cup competitions in the north, more teams playing in the Betfred Women’s Super League South, and in the under 11 to under 16 age range we’ll have even more girls and more teams playing Rugby League in 2022.”
Joining Saints and Barrow in Group A are British Army and Warrington Wolves.
In Group B are last season’s Betfred Women’s Super League Shield winners Huddersfield Giants, Hull FC, Leeds Rhinos and Leigh Miners Rangers.
Bradford Bulls, Dewsbury Moor, Wigan Warriors and the 2021 runners-up York City Knights make up Group C, while Group D features Castleford Tigers, Featherstone Rovers, Oulton Raidettes and Wakefield Trinity.
Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup opening fixtures
Saturday 12 March
Group A: Barrow Raiders v St Helens (2pm, live on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport website)
Sunday 13 March
Group A: British Army v Warrington Wolves
Group B: Huddersfield Giants v Leeds Rhinos; Leigh Miners Rangers v Hull FC
Group C: Bradford Bulls v Wigan Warriors; Dewsbury Moor v York City Knights
Group D: Castleford Tigers v Wakefield Trinity; Oulton Raidettes v Featherstone Rovers
The top two teams from each group will progress to the quarter-finals stage on the weekend of 9-10 April.