The 2020 Challenge Cup is underway, however, Super League clubs do not enter the competition until the fifth round, while the top eight teams from last season’s Super League join the draw in the sixth round.
This year’s final will take place a little earlier than usual on the 18th July at Wembley. The semi-finals will once again be played at the University of Bolton Stadium as part of a double-header of action on the 6th June.
Last Year’s Final
Warrington go into the 2020 competition as the holders of the Challenge Cup after they beat St Helens in the final last August.
The Wire were the underdogs in that game but produced a fantastic performance to prevail 18-4. They were able to limit the explosive Saints attack to just one try in the final.
Their success at Wembley made up for their disappointment 12 months earlier. They had to settle for being runners-up in 2018 as they were beaten by the Catalan Dragons.
Steve Price’s side will be looking to repeat what they did in 2010 by successfully defending the trophy this year.
Who Are The Bookmakers’ Favourites?
St Helens are the favourites to win the 2020 Challenge Cup. They have rugby league odds of 11/4 this year. They will be hoping they can go one place better than they did in 2019.
Last season’s Super League Grand Final winners are coached by Kristian Woolfe this year. The Australian will be taking part in the competition for the very first time in his career.
Saints have made a positive start to the Super League but were beaten by the Sydney Roosters in the World Club Challenge.
Wigan are second best in the outright betting for the Challenge Cup at 7/2. They have won the trophy a record 19 times, with their most recent success coming in 2013.
Warrington can be backed at 4/1 to win the knockout tournament for a second straight year.
Every year there is a surprise package in the Challenge Cup. In 2018 it was Catalan who became the first non-British team to win the competition. Last season, Championship team Halifax reached the semi-final before losing to St Helens in Bolton.
Huddersfield have made a positive start to their season in the league. It has been 67 years since the Giants last won the competition. They are 25/1 with bookmakers but they may do much better than their odds suggest.
Salford’s sole success in the Challenge Cup came in 1938. The Red Devils showed they are capable of having a big run in tournaments as they reached the Grand Final last October, losing to St Helens in that game.
Big Names To Look Out For
Catalan and Toronto are two non-British teams competing in the Challenge Cup. Former rugby union stars Israel Folau and Sonny Bill Williams are, therefore, likely to feature.
Folau has made an impressive start for the Catalans on his switch to rugby league. He is already being linked with a switch to the NRL next year.
Williams, who is a multiple World Cup winner, was Toronto’s marquee signing in the off-season. They will be hoping he can help them in the Super League and Challenge Cup in 2020.
It should be a great run to Wembley as 80 teams are whittled down to two ahead of the 119th final of the Challenge Cup.