The 2022 Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup Final will be played at Elland Road, the home of Leeds United FC, on Saturday May 7.
For the third time in succession the Women’s Challenge Cup Final will be part of a Rugby League triple header also featuring the semi-finals of the Men’s Betfred Challenge Cup – after triumphs for Leeds Rhinos against Castleford Tigers at the University of Bolton Stadium in 2019, and for St Helens against York City Knights at Leigh Sports Village earlier this year.
And with Elland Road boasting a capacity of almost 38,000, the RFL has set a target of smashing the current record for a domestic Women’s Rugby League fixture - 4,235 set at the 2021 Betfred Women’s Super League Grand Final at Headingley in October.
Mark Foster, the RFL’s Chief Commercial Officer, said:
“The growing profile of Women’s and Girls’ Rugby League has been a huge success story for the game in recent years, and taking the 2022 Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup Final to Elland Road represents another significant step forward.
“Elland Road is a Premier League football stadium with a strong history of staging big Rugby League occasions, including one famous men’s Challenge Cup Final replay between Hull FC and Widnes in 1982.
“Now the Betfred Challenge Cup triple header will fall firmly into that category. The Women’s Challenge Cup Final is proving increasingly popular both with Rugby League supporters and with our broadcast partners and TV viewers, as we saw when the Women’s Final was shown live on BBC2 for the first time earlier this year.
“We are confident that more supporters than ever will want to be at Elland Road to watch the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup Final in 2022, and it will be a fitting stage for the brilliant athletes who are driving the development of Women’s Rugby League.
“With Elland Road also staging a Men’s Semi Final in the Rugby League World Cup next autumn, there’s so much to look forward to in 2022.”
Elland Road will also host the draw next Tuesday (December 7) for the First Round of the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup, which will be streamed live on the RFL’s Our League web and app.
The Leeds-born former Liverpool and Manchester City football star Gemma Bonner, who has 11 England caps and currently plays for Racing Louisville in Kentucky, will return to her first club to conduct the draw.
The competition will have a fresh format in 2022, with 16 teams drawn into four seeded groups of four teams – guaranteeing three fixtures for each team as the BWCC kicks off the Women’s Rugby League season, from mid-March to mid-April.
The 12 teams from the expanded Betfred Women’s Super League will be joined by three from the Championship – Hull FC, Oulton Raidettes and Widnes Vikings – as well as The Army, who were named Team of the Year at the Army Sports Awards at Sandhurst last month following their success in reaching the final of the inaugural Betfred Women’s Super League South.
The top four from the 2021 BWSL – Castleford Tigers, York City Knights, Leeds Rhinos and the double winners, St Helens – will be kept apart in the First Round.
The teams who finished fifth to eighth – Wigan Warriors, Huddersfield Giants, Featherstone Rovers and Warrington Wolves – will be in the second pool, again with one drawn in each group.
A third pool consists of Bradford Bulls, Wakefield Trinity and the two newcomers to the BWSL in 2022 - Barrow Raiders and Leigh Miners Rangers – with the four teams from outside the BWSL in the fourth pool.
The top two teams from each group will qualify for Quarter Finals, with the winners guaranteed home advantage.
The full schedule of matches will be published as soon as possible following the draw, with the Betfred Women’s Super League fixture list to be finalised soon – and tickets for the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup Final and Challenge Cup triple header at Elland Road to go on sale in the New Year.
Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup 2022
First Round seedings
- Pool One – St Helens, Leeds Rhinos, York City Knights, Castleford Tigers
- Pool Two – Wigan Warriors, Huddersfield Giants, Featherstone Rovers, Warrington Wolves
- Pool Three – Bradford Bulls, Wakefield Trinity, Barrow Raiders, Leigh Miners Rangers
- Pool Four – The Army, Hull FC, Oulton Raidettes, Widnes Vikings