Five things for rugby league fans to look forward to in 2022

Now that all the festive fun is behind us and we’re into the new year, many rugby league fans will immediately look ahead to the new season which is now just weeks away.

2022 is set to be a massive year for the sport all across the planet with plenty of things to look forward to within the next 12 months, so we’ve put together five things for rugby league fans to look forward to in 2022.

A new Challenge Cup Final venue

Next year will see the Challenge Cup Final venture to a different venue for the first time since 2007 when St Helens and Catalans met in the first Challenge Cup Final at the new Wembley. After 15 fantastic finals at the newly built national stadium, the Challenge Cup moves to Tottenham Hotspur’s sublime and supremely modern ground. A fantastic venue, it’s already played host to NFL, boxing and a Champions League semi-final under the lights. Arguably the best-looking ground in the country, it’ll be a lovely new home for rugby league’s oldest competition and will no doubt add a little something extra to the cup next year.

Three World Cups

Next year brings not just one rugby league world cup, not just two but three all held in the same country alongside one another in a ground breaking and inclusive step forward doing something that has never been seen before in any sport before. The women’s, men’s and wheelchair world cups all give us something to look forward to in 2022 as we sink our teeth into a festival of rugby at the end of the year.

An exciting play-off race

Next year’s top six is almost impossible to predict. St Helens and Catalans are widely tipped to battle it out for the League Leaders’ Shield but one or two other teams are seen as contenders as well. Of course, big boys Warrington, Leeds and Wigan are expected to make the top six but none are guaranteed a play-off place. Outside of them, the likes of Hull FC, Hull KR, Castleford and Huddersfield will be eyeing up a play-off place given the quality recruitment they’ve secured this winter. That said, Wakefield showed play-off form at the end of 2021 so shouldn’t be counted out nor should the new look Salford Red Devils. Even Toulouse’s exciting brand of rugby makes them a threat so almost anyone could secure a play-off place in 2022.

The first French derby in Super League history

In 2022, for only the fifth time in Super League history, we’ll have two teams in Super League from outside England but for the first time both those teams are from the same country as French rivals Catalans and Toulouse are set to meet in the first French derby in Super League. The fixture will fulfil the ambitions set out in 1996 when Super League started and will see the sides who finished top of the top two divisions do battle. When the teams meet in April this year it will be a ground breaking step forward for the sport.

An early Grand Final

Another first will greet us in 2022. Yes, next year will be the home of the first September Grand Final with the decider taking place on the 24th September in the earliest Grand Final ever. This means we don’t have to wait quite so long for the biggest and best game of the Super League season meaning it’s definitely something to look forward to especially as with the likes of Catalans and Warrington likely pushing for Super League glory. We could very well see a new winner crowned in September.

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