By The RFL
St Helens are the 2014 First Utility Super League leaders.
Saints’ position at the top of the Super League ladder at the completion of 27 rounds of the regular season was confirmed when Castleford Tigers, the only club which could mathematically overtake them, were defeated by Catalans Dragons.
Tonight’s result means Castleford finish fourth and will travel to Langtree Park on Friday night (8.00pm) for a mouth-watering qualifying play-off against the newly-crowned League Leaders, St Helens.
The other qualifying sem-final sees second-placed Wigan Warriors, the defending champions, host third-placed Huddersfield Giants, the 2013 League Leaders, in another 8.00pm kick-off.
The winners of the two qualifying play-offs will have a bye in Week 2 of the play-offs, when the losing teams will be at home to the winners of the two elimination play-offs.
All four play-offs in Week 1 will be televised live by Sky Sports, whose cameras will be at both The Halliwell Jones Stadium and Headingley Carnegie Stadium on Saturday for a compelling double bill of elimination play-offs.
With defeat meaning season-end for two clubs on Saturday, the stakes are high as the closest First Utility Super League season of all time reaches a dramatic denouement.
The do-or-die action kicks off at 2.45pm when fifth-placed Warrington Wolves face Widnes Vikings, who are making their debuts in the play-offs after securing a competition-best eighth-place finish.
The focus then switches to Headingley at 5.15pm when sixth-placed Leeds Rhinos, the only club ever to win the Grand Final from fifth place, start their campaign to go one better with a home play-off against Catalans Dragons.
The full schedule for Week One of the First Utility Super League play-offs is as follows:
Thursday September 18
Wigan Warriors v Huddersfield Giants (8.00pm)
Friday September 19
St Helens v Castleford Tigers (8.00pm)
Saturday September 20
Warrington Wolves v Widnes Vikings (2.45)
Leeds Rhinos v Catalans Dragons (5.15)
Details of ticket prices and availability for all four play-offs will be published on the clubs’ websites within the next 24 hours.
Tickets for the 2014 First Utility Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford, Manchester, on Saturday October 11 (600pm) cost from just £20 and can be purchased by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk or calling the Rugby League Ticket Hotline on 0844 856 1113.
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