Of course there is a lot of focus on the Challenge Cup semi-finals this weekend as Wigan Warriors and Hull KR prepare for battle alongside St Helens and Leigh Leopards.
The Super League and World Champions are looking for a second Challenge Cup in three years but find themselves in the unusual position of taking on a side above them in the league.
They meet at Warrington Wolves’ Halliwell Jones Stadium on Saturday on BBC.
The other semi-final takes place on Sunday again on BBC this time from Leeds Rhinos’ Headingley Stadium as Hull KR look to repeat their 2015 semi-final heroics in Leeds.
Wigan are looking to retain their trophy.
These aren’t the only games taking place this weekend.
Both AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Semi Finals will be streamed on Our League next weekend, with four Betfred Championship clubs 80 minutes from a dream appearance at Wembley Stadium.
The matches have been arranged to avoid clashing with the Betfred Challenge Cup Semi Finals – meaning Rugby League gluttons can now watch six Semi Finals in the space of 36 hours.
At 5pm on Saturday July 22, London Broncos will take on Halifax Panthers at Rosslyn Park FC.
Then at midday on Sunday July 23, York Knights host Batley Bulldogs at the LNER Community Stadium.
Each of the Semi Finals will be available on Our League for an Earlybird price of £4.95, which rises to £10 on the day of the match.
Our League is Rugby League’s membership and streaming platform, now with well over 250,000 members.
To join for free, or to purchase a stream for the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Semi Finals, just click here!
The AB Sundecks 1895 Cup was created in 2019 to give clubs outside the Super League a second and more realistic chance of reaching Wembley.
Sheffield Eagles were the inaugural winners, beating Widnes Vikings with their evergreen half-back winning the Ray French Award as Player of the Match.
The competition was suspended in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but returned in 2021 with Featherstone Rovers beating York City Knights in the Wembley Final – and Craig Hall taking the Ray French Award.
The 2022 Final moved with the Betfred Challenge Cup Final to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and Leigh Centurions denied Featherstone their second successive triumph, with Edwin Ipape named Player of the Match.
So a fourth winner in as many years is already guaranteed, with York Knights the only one of the Semi Finalists to have appeared in a previous Final.
London Broncos will be aiming for their second Wembley appearance having reached the Challenge Cup Final in 1999, when a team including Shaun Edwards and Martin Offiah suffered a heavy defeat against Leeds Rhinos.
Halifax Panthers have the strongest Wembley pedigree of the four Semi Finalists, having made seven appearances at the National Stadium between 1931 and 1988 – with three wins, three defeats, and a draw against Warrington in 1954.
Batley will be seeking their first Wembley appearance, even though the Gallant Youths were the first winners of the Challenge Cup in 1897, and won it twice more in the next four years. All three of those wins came at Headingley Stadium, well before the bold decision to take the Challenge Cup Final south to Wembley in 1929.
The 2023 AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final will be played at Wembley Stadium on Saturday August 12, the last match of an action-packed day which kicks off with the inspiresports Champion Schools Year 7 Boys Final between Archbishop Sentamu Academy (Hull) and Bedford High School (Leigh), and continues with the first Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup Final at Wembley, which is followed by the Men’s Final at 3pm.