The fixtures lists for the Reserves League and Academy Championship have been confirmed.
Castleford and Leeds will play their first match in the relaunched Reserves League on Thursday, January 30 – the first of a full round of seven fixtures which continues on the Friday with Hull KR taking on Wakefield, which will be a curtain-raiser before the equivalent Super League fixture.
The other games in the opening round of the reserves are due to be played on Saturday, February 1, and involve the four non-Super League clubs who have been included in both the Reserves League and Academy Championship – London Broncos, Bradford and Newcastle are away to Huddersfield, Hull FC and Warrington. Widnes will host Wigan and St Helens will take on Salford.
The following weekend the Broncos will host St Helens in the Reserves League in a double-header at Ealing Trailfinders, before their home Championship opener against Whitehaven.
Two weeks later, St Helens will face Wigan Warriors in a heavyweight derby at Ruskin Drive on Sunday, February 23 – the day after they host Sydney Roosters in the World Club Challenge.
Each of the 14 teams will play 18 matches, with the last round of fixtures on the weekend of August 30 – and no play-offs, meaning the team finishing top will be crowned champions.
Academy Championship (Under-18s)
The Academy Championship kicks off a month later than the Reserves League, on Friday, February 28, when Wigan launch their title defence at home to Hull KR.
London and Newcastle open up with home matches against St Helens and Leeds respectively, while Bradford go to Hull FC and Widnes travel to Huddersfield.
Castleford face Warrington, with Wakefield Trinity given a bye in the opening round, as the Academy Championship is a 13-team competition including all the English teams in the Super League bar Salford.
The Academy Championship also involves each team playing 18 fixtures, with the champions to be determined by a four-team play-off series culminating in a Grand Final in late September, with the last round of fixtures in the regular season on the weekend of September 11.