Challenge Cup semi-finals to be held back-to-back at Bolton’s Macron Stadium

Rugby league will break new ground this year by staging both Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-finals on the same day.

The ties will be played as a double-header at Bolton’s Macron Stadium on Sunday, August 5. The first semi-final will kick-off at 12.30pm with the second game kicking off at 2.45pm.

Rugby Football League interim chief executive Ralph Rimmer said: “The Ladbrokes Challenge Cup is one of the most prestigious competitions in sport and the introduction of a semi-finals double-header is a fantastic opportunity to showcase two of the biggest games of the year at one event.

“Fans rarely get the chance to watch two games on one day that have so much riding on them and I am sure that everyone attending will have a fantastic time.

“We believe that by creating the double-header for the semi-finals that we will elevate the games and create a memorable experience for all those involved,” added Rimmer.

“Rugby League prides itself on being innovative and trying new concepts meaning we are one of the very few sports who can put together an event with four semi-finalists at one venue, creating what we hope will be a fantastic occasion.”

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Macron Stadium, which has a capacity of just under 30,000 is no stranger to rugby league with three World Club Challenge games and three international Test matches being played there between 1998-2007.

The semi-final draw will be made after Sunday’s last quarter-final, with two of the quarter-finals being shown live on Sky Sports.

Huddersfield Giants face Catalans Dragons on Thursday night on Sky Sports Arena before Leeds Rhinos’ and Leigh Centurions’ meeting will be live on Sky Sports Arena on Friday night.

The 2018 Challenge Cup Final will be played at Wembley Stadium on August 25.