Rugby League

Women's Challenge Cup

5 Jun 2024

Betfred Women's Challenge Cup Final Preview

Betfred Women's Challenge Cup Final Preview

Here we go again! Saints and Rhinos are set for a titanic rematch... 

Leeds Rhinos face St Helens in the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup Final at the iconic Wembley Stadium this Saturday (KO 11.45am), with the famous rivals set to battle it out once again for Women’s Rugby League’s most prestigious trophy. 

This year’s showpiece sees current holders St Helens, coached by former Challenge Cup and Lance Todd Trophy winner Matty Smith, meet the two-time winners Leeds Rhinos – led by another Challenge Cup winner in her playing days, Lois Forsell. 

2023 saw Saints defeat Leeds in the first Women’s Challenge Cup Final to be played at Wembley. Quick-fire tries from Tara Jones, Phoebe Hook and Eboni Partington sent Saints surging ahead, before Sophie Robinson and Catilin Beevers hit back – the latter scoring a try to grace any cup final.

But Shona Hoyle padded out Saints' lead, with Smith’s side eventually going on to win 22-8 and become the first Women’s team to lift the Challenge Cup trophy at Wembley Stadium. 

“It was really special last year, and you could argue that the semi-final was a bigger game because winning that gave the girls the chance to play at the national stadium," Smith told BBC5Live’s Rugby League Podcast. 

“There’s an element of calmness going into the weekend having got a feel of playing at Wembley last year and most of the girls in the squad played in that fixture. As the week progresses, I’m sure the excitement and nerves will build because we’re playing on the big stage again. It’s massive for the girls.” 

St Helens have already defeated their opponents in the Betfred Super League this season, but Smith is still wary of the challenge that lies ahead:

“We’ll be playing against a tough Leeds side led by a great coach in Lois Forsell, we’re looking forward to the challenge and hopefully we can put in a performance on Saturday and hope come out with the right result.” 

Leeds have lost out to St Helens twice in the Challenge Cup Final but after last year’s heartache, Forsell is confident her newly revitalised squad can go one step further on Saturday:

“Looking back on last year we had a couple of bans, a couple of injuries and people going off to the NRLW, so we had our backs against the wall, but we’re much more settled this year” she told the 5Live’s Tanya Arnold. “We had a lot of young players in our squad last year, but they’ve got that feeling of their first Cup Final off their back - I don’t know how I would’ve reacted if my first final was at Wembley Stadium!” 

The Rhinos made several statement signings in the off season – including Hoyle and York Valkyrie duo Grace Field and Liv Whitehead – and Forsell is relishing their involvement on Saturday:

“I think as a group we’ve learnt a lot since last year and we’ve also recruited well. We’ll potentially have different players on different sides to last year who missed out because they were playing for another team so it’s exciting.”  


Expect the Unexpected in the Betfred Women's Challenge Cup!


The 2024 Betfred Women's Challenge Cup Final will take place on Saturday 8 June, K.O. 11.45am at Wembley Stadium and shown LIVE on BBC Two.


The Betfred Women's Challenge Cup Final (KO 11.45am) will once again be part of a Finals Day triple-header at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 8 June, alongside the final of the Betfred Men’s Challenge Cup (KO 3.07pm) and the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final (KO 5.45pm). Plus, there will be the traditional Year 7 Boys’ Champion Schools Final at 10am. Tickets are available online now from only £20 Adults and £10 Under 16s, with family packages also available.