Challenge Cup group stage draw details confirmed amid league restructure as St Helens target four-peat

Ben Olawumi
St Helens Women, Challenge Cup, Wembley

St Helens Women lift the Challenge Cup at Wembley - Alamy

The draw for the group stages of the 2024 Women’s Challenge Cup will take place on Wednesday, January 10 live on BBC Radio Merseyside at 6.30pm, conducted by former broadcaster Angela Powers.

St Helens have won the tournament three years on the spin, and go in hunt of a four-peat in 2024, as achieved by their male counterparts in Super League last year.

The Red V’s women became the first female side to lift the Challenge Cup under the Wembley arch back in August, beating Leeds Rhinos 22-8 in front of 8,338.

2024 will be the third year in a row which has seen the Women’s Challenge Cup follow a format involving group stages, with teams to be seeded into four pots of four, similar to how it works in football’s UEFA Champions League.

For this year’s draw, Saints and Leeds are joined in pot one – or ‘pool one’ officially – by Wigan Warriors and the reigning Women’s Super League champions York Valkyrie. Having won promotion, both Barrow Raiders and Featherstone Rovers will be in pot two for the draw on January 10.

Pots three and four meanwhile feature the sides who will compete in the ‘Regional Leagues’ come next year as part of a wide scale restructuring of the women’s pyramid.

Instead of there being a Women’s Championship, there will instead be four different regional leagues consisting of eight clubs per league.  A regional play-off will take place between the respective winners of those four leagues to crown a national champion.

That national champion will then have the chance to play in a play-off for promotion against the team finishing bottom in the Women‘s Super League, depending on them being able to meet minimum standards.

Those minimum standards for the Women’s Super League will include payments for players, which some clubs have already committed to, including York.

Challenge Cup group stage draw details confirmed amid league restructure as St Helens target four-peat

Group stage fixtures will take place over the weekends of March 16 & 17, 22 & 23 and April 6 & 7.

The winners of each group will earn a home tie in the quarter-finals against a runner-up. Quarter-final ties are to be drawn by Powers on Wednesday evening immediately after the group stage draw.

These four ties will take the shape of, for example, ‘The Winner of Group 1 v The Runner-up of Group 3‘.

A full rundown of the seedings and pots for the Women’s Challenge Cup draw on January 10 can be seen below.

Pot One (Top Seed)

Leeds Rhinos (Super League)

St Helens (Super League)

Wigan Warriors (Super League)

York Valkyrie (Super League)

Pot Two

Barrow Raiders (Super League)

Featherstone Rovers (Super League)

Huddersfield Giants (Super League)

Warrington Wolves (Super League)

Pot Three

Bradford Bulls (‘Roses’ Regional League)

Castleford Tigers (‘Roses’ Regional League)

Leigh Leopards (‘Roses’ Regional League)

Salford Red Devils (‘Roses’ Regional League)

Pot Four

Cardiff Demons (‘South’ Regional League)

Hull KR (‘Roses’ Regional League)

London Broncos (‘South’ Regional League)

Sheffield Eagles (‘Roses’ Regional League)

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