2023 Betfred Challenge Cup Draws To Take Place At Wembley In Historic Year

Wembley Stadium is set to play a major part, from start to finish
16:46, 20 Dec 2022

It might only seem like yesterday that Jodie Cunningham lifted the Betfred Challenge Cup at Elland Road and Liam Marshall broke Huddersfield hearts at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but the greatest rugby league cup competition of all is gearing up for its return. 

On Thursday January 12, the early rounds of both the men’s and women’s Challenge Cups will take place at Wembley Stadium, where both finals will be hosted in August. After a two-year break away from the biggest stadium in the United Kingdom, the men’s final will return but for the first time it will be preceded by the women’s final in what should be a spectacular day for the sport. 

Hopes are high that the women’s attendance record of 5,888 set last year for St Helens win over Leeds Rhinos will be smashed, but the road to Wembley begins on January 12, when teams will discover their potential routes to the final. 


There are a number of differences between the two competitions however. 

In the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup, the 12 teams from the Betfred Women’s Super League – including the champions Leeds Rhinos, the 2022 Cup winners St Helens, and three new names for the competition in Leigh Leopards, Salford Red Devils and York Valkyrie – will be joined by Oulton Raidettes and Hull KR from the Women’s RL Championship, and Cardiff Demons and London Broncos from the Betfred Women’s Super League South.

The 16 teams will be drawn into four groups of four, with matches beginning on April 23, and the top two in each group qualifying for quarter-finals on June 18.

The Betfred Men’s Challenge Cup will kick off on the weekend of February 11-12 with 34 teams, including each of the three Armed Forces, six teams from the Southern Conference League, and one each from Wales, Scotland and Ireland – with Dublin City Exiles returning to the competition for the first time since 2002.

The 17 winners will be joined in the second round two weeks later by ten teams from the Impact Performance National Conference League Premier Division and 11 teams from Betfred League One – including Cornwall RLFC, who will make their debut in the competition in their second full season, and Dewsbury Rams, who played in the first Wembley final in 1929.

The ten NCL Premier teams include a new name in Hunslet ARLFC, who have been formed through the merger of the 2022 champions Hunslet Club Parkside with Hunslet Warriors – and will join Hunslet RLFC, their professional neighbours, in the second round draw.

The first and second round draws will both be held at Wembley on January 12, and covered live on The Sportsman. If you want to book your place at Wembley for Finals Day, you can visit eticketing.co.uk/rugbyleague, where currently the early bird ticket offer means there is 25% off all tickets. 

Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup – first round draw (16 teams)

Barrow Raiders, Bradford Bulls, Cardiff Demons, Castleford Tigers, Featherstone Rovers, Huddersfield Giants, Hull KR, Leeds Rhinos, Leigh Leopards, London Broncos, Oulton Raidettes, Salford Red Devils, St Helens, Warrington Wolves, Wigan Warriors, York Valkyrie. 

Betfred Men's Challenge Cup – first round draw (34 teams)

Impact Performance NCL - Featherstone Lions, Heworth, Hull Dockers, Ince Rose Bridge, Milford, Myton Warriors, Oulton Raiders, Saddleworth Rangers, Skirlaugh, Stanningley, Thornhill Trojans, West Bowling, Wigan St Patricks;

British Army, Great Britain Police, RAF, Royal Navy;

Ashton Bears, Bedford Tigers, Brentwood Eels, Distington, Doncaster Toll Bar, Dublin City Exiles, Edinburgh Eagles, Fryston Warriors, Hammersmith Hills Hoists, Jarrow Vikings, London Chargers, North Herts Crusaders, Orrell St James, Rhondda Outlaws, Waterhead, Westgate Common, Wests Warriors.

Betfred Men's Challenge Cup – second round draw (38 teams)

17 First Round winners

Impact Performance NCL Premier (10) – Hunslet ARLFC, Leigh Miners, Lock Lane, Pilkington Recs, Rochdale Mayfield, Siddal, Thatto Heath Crusaders, Wath Brow Hornets, West Hull, York Acorn

Betfred League One (11) – Cornwall, Dewsbury Rams, Doncaster, Hunslet, London Skolars, Midlands Hurricanes, North Wales Crusaders, Oldham, Rochdale Hornets, West Wales Raiders, Workington Town

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Betfred Challenge Cup Odds 2023*
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