THE 2021 rugby league season will begin with a feast of Challenge Cup action next month, as all eight first round ties will be streamed across three platforms, with Bulls facing a Sunday afternoon clash at Featherstone.

And it will be a similar story when the Championship kicks off over the Easter Weekend two weeks later, with all seven fixtures in the opening round available to watch through Our League, on both web & app - and now with the option to cast to TV to enjoy all the action on the big screen.

Bulls have been handed a Sunday lunchtime slot for their visit to Sheffield Eagles, with that one kicking off at 12:45pm.

Back to the cup, and the clash between Mark Aston’s Eagles – who famously won the Challenge Cup at Wembley in 1998 – and James Ford’s highly-fancied York team has been selected by the new tournament sponsors, Betfred, for live online coverage – with further details to follow next week.

Super Saturday (March 20) begins at 12:45pm with Oldham versus Barrow Raiders, followed by London Broncos v Keighley Cougars (3pm), Whitehaven v Dewsbury Rams (5:15pm) and finally Halifax’s first game as the Panthers, against Batley Bulldogs at The Shay (7:30pm).

On Sunday lunchtime, the focus switches to West Wales, with the former rugby union international Gavin Henson and the former England rugby league international Rangi Chase hoping to make their debuts for the Raiders against Widnes at Stebonheath Park (12:45pm).

That will be followed by the Featherstone-Bradford tie at 3pm, also streamed by the BBC, with the first round completed by Newcastle’s trip to Heywood Road to face Swinton Lions (5:15pm) on Our League.

The Championship campaign will begin on Good Friday with Oldham and Swinton Lions renewing their traditional Easter rivalry (5:15pm), followed by a West Yorkshire battle between Featherstone Rovers and Batley Bulldogs (7:30pm).

There are two more games on Easter Saturday, as York City Knights play their first game at the new LNER Stadium against Toulouse Olympique (5:15pm) before Dewsbury face Whitehaven for the second time in a fortnight, this time at the Tetley’s Stadium (7:30pm).

With the remaining three games on Easter Sunday, there will be no clashes with the Super League programme that weekend – meaning fans can watch more matches over Easter than ever.

Details of the second round of the Challenge Cup, which will be played on the weekend of March 27-28, will be confirmed after the first round ties.

Detailed arrangements for further rounds of the Championship in April will be delayed until there is further clarity on the timetable for the return of fans to grounds.

Betfred Challenge Cup, First Round:

Friday. March 19 – Sheffield Eagles v York City Knights (7:45pm live from Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster – coverage tbc).

Saturday, March 20 – Oldham v Barrow Raiders (12:45pm), London Broncos v Keighley Cougars (3pm), Whitehaven v Dewsbury Rams (5:15pm), Halifax Panthers v Batley Bulldogs (7:30pm) – all matches live on Our League, free to home season ticket holders, otherwise Pay Per View.

Sunday, March 21 – West Wales Raiders v Widnes Vikings (12:45pm), Featherstone Rovers v Bradford Bulls (3pm) – both streamed live on BBC.

Swinton Lions v Newcastle Thunder (5:15pm, live on Our League, free to home season ticket holders, otherwise Pay Per View.

Betfred Championship, Round One:

Good Friday, April 2: Oldham v Swinton Lions (5:15pm), Featherstone Rovers v Batley Bulldogs (7:30pm).

Easter Saturday, April 3: York City Knights v Toulouse Olympique (5:15pm), Dewsbury Rams v Whitehaven (7:30pm).

Easter Sunday, April 4: Sheffield Eagles v Bradford Bulls (12:45pm, Keepmoat Stadium), Halifax Panthers v London Broncos (3pm), Newcastle Thunder v Widnes Vikings (5:15pm)

All 7 Championship matches will be live on Our League, and free to home season ticket holders.

Otherwise other rugby league fans – including supporters of the away club – will be able to secure the live coverage for an Early Bird price of £4.95, which increases to £10 on the day of the match.

A Day Pass will cost £15 and secure live coverage of all fixtures on a given day (for example four Challenge Cup ties on Saturday, March 20).

A Weekend Pass will cost £20 and secure live coverage of all the matches being shown on Our League in a full round (for example five of the eight Challenge Cup ties on March 20-21, and all seven matches in Round One of the Championship from April 2-4).

For full details and to buy your tickets, click here :

Our League 2021

Matches played behind closed doors in both the first round of the Challenge Cup and Round One of the Championship will be available to watch either through Betfred or the BBC, or through the RFL’s Our League web & app.