Kerching! Another use will be found for the Macron this summer as it has been announced that both of rugby league’s Challenge Cup semi-finals will be played at our ground in August.
The lineup of teams will be known within the next few days, with the quarter-finals being played from Thursday through to Sunday. Both games will be played on Sunday 5th August, as a doubleheader. In holding more than one game in a day at a football ground, the sport is using a format that they seem to like. Newcastle’s St James Park hosts Magic Weekend each year, when all top-flight sides play at the same ground over the course of two days, while Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road hosts a similar event for second-tier clubs.
Rugby league has been played at the ground before. It hosted the 2000 World Cup semi-final between England and New Zealand and a number of World Club Challenge games when St Helens represented Europe’s Super League against the winners of Australia and New Zealand’s NRL.
Hopefully, it’ll be a nice little revenue addition for Wanderers, on top of the summer concerts. From a footballing point of view, it does clash with the opening weekend of the Championship, but there should be no reason we can’t play a home game on the Saturday. In any case, having not had one since 2014, we’re probably due an away game for the first fixture. Rugby players, just don’t ruin the pitch please. Rugby fans, buy food and drink in the ground. Even if it’s not very good.