Hull Kingston Rovers will begin their quest to make an immediate return to the Betfred Super League against Bradford Bulls, in one of six games kicking off the Kingstone Press Championship across the weekend of 4th and 5th of February 2017.
The Bulls who narrowly missed out on promotion to the Super League in 2015 with defeat in the £1M Game will face Hull KR at the Lightstream Stadium on Sunday February 5 whilst Batley Bulldogs will kick off the new season the day before, beginning life under new coach Matt Diskin away against newly promoted Toulouse Olympique XIII on Saturday 4 February.
The 2017 season sees Rugby League continue with the new structure that involves the 12 Betfred Super League clubs and 12 Kingstone Press Championship clubs splitting into the Super 8s after 23 rounds to determine promotion, relegation and Grand Final glory.
Rochdale Hornets, who won promotion to the Championship with victory over Toulouse Olympique XIII, will begin life in the 2017 Kingstone Press Championship with a home fixture against Dewsbury Rams.
Hallifax RLFC, who missed out on the Qualifiers in 2016, will begin with a home fixture against Featherstone Rovers whilst Oldham RLFC will begin the 2017 season with a home tie against Sheffield Eagles. London Broncos will hope to carry their strong 2016 form in their first game of the season when they travel away to play Swinton Lions.
Each team will play 23 games in the regular season, home and away against the other 11 clubs and following the success of the 2016 Summer Bash, all clubs will return to Bloomfield Road in Blackpool over the Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May. This year the Summer Bash will feature a repeat of Hull Kingstone Rovers opening game of the season, against Bradford Bulls.
Sky Sports will screen selected matches from the Kingstone Press Championship in 2016, and all six matches from the Summer Bash at Blackpool will be available to watch across Sky Sports.
Full details of the 2017 Kingstone Press Championship Fixtures can be found at www.rugby-league.com
As clubs are joining from two competitions, the Qualifiers will have all their points from the regular season wiped to form a new mini-league. Clubs who finished ninth and 10th in Super League and first and second in the Championship will play four home games and 11th and 12th and third and fourth will play three home games.
After seven rounds, the top three in the Qualifiers will be automatically promoted to Super League for 2016 whilst clubs finishing fourth and fifth will go on to play in the ‘£1M Game’ at the home of the fourth-placed team, to determine the final promotion place.
The eight clubs in the Championship Shield will carry over their points from the regular season to play seven Super 8s matches: after seven rounds the top four clubs will compete in the Championship Shield play-offs.