Challenge Cup sixth round to be redrawn after withdrawals of six clubs

Sheffield Eagles won the inaugural 1895 Cup – a competition for clubs outside Super League – by beating Widnes at Wembley in 2019

The sixth round of the Challenge Cup will be redrawn following the withdrawals of Toronto Wolfpack and the five clubs from outside Super League.

Championship clubs Sheffield and York cited player welfare concerns as one of the reasons for their decisions.

Two sixth-round ties will be played in Huddersfield on 22 August.

The other six teams will receive byes into the quarter-finals, with both draws taking place later this week, and the final scheduled for 17 October.

The latter stages of the Challenge Cup were delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic and Simon Johnson, chairman of the Rugby Football League, said there have been “unique challenges in reshaping” the competition.

He continued: “We are wholly sympathetic to the Championship and League One clubs who had earned places in the sixth round, but for various reasons and quite understandably, do not now feel it would be in their best interests to continue in the competition.

“We believe that the fairest way to proceed from here is to redraw, meaning two sixth-round ties and the other six clubs receiving a bye to the quarter-finals. We hope that supporters and clubs will understand this decision.”

It was confirmed earlier this month that Toronto Wolfpack had withdrawn from the Challenge Cup and would not play any further part in Super League in 2020 because of the “overwhelming financial challenges” caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Newcastle Thunder, Featherstone Rovers and Widnes Vikings, along with Sheffield and York, will also not be taking part in the remainder of the Challenge Cup.

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