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Super League to resume with triple-header on 2 August

Castleford beat St Helens in the final Super League match to be played before the season was suspended

The 2020 Super League season will resume on 2 August, more than four months after it was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Three matches will be played on that date at one venue behind closed doors.

The revised schedule will contain a further 15 rounds of fixtures, with a four-team play-offs and a Grand Final to follow – set to be in late November.

Remaining games will be played at “a small number of neutral venues” until government directives change.

On 2 August, Hull KR will play Toronto Wolfpack, champions St Helens will face Catalans Dragons and Huddersfield will take on Leeds – all matches that were postponed before the season was suspended.

A full round of fixtures will follow during the weekend of 8-9 August.

“We know that fans want to get back into grounds to support their teams,” said Super League executive chairman Robert Elstone.

“We will continue to follow government advice and work alongside the Rugby Football League, clinical advisors and ground safety personnel to ensure that when that time comes, Super League is ready to welcome back its fans at the first opportunity.

“Whilst the recent government announcements underline increasing optimism, the pandemic remains unpredictable. Our final fixture schedule needs to respond to opportunities that will unfold over the coming weeks and accordingly, full details of fixtures, venues and season structure will be confirmed as they become known.”

Super League has also said it is “closely monitoring government directives in both France and Canada”, with overseas clubs Catalans and Toronto both among the 12 teams in the top flight.

No matches have been played in the competition since 15 March.

It is also hoped that the Challenge Cup can be completed, although dates are yet to be confirmed for its conclusion.

‘A relief to players, fans and all connected with rugby league’

Analysis: BBC Sport’s rugby league correspondent Dave Woods

There are still plenty of details to be confirmed, but this eagerly anticipated confirmation of an early August restart will come as a huge relief to players, fans and all connected with rugby league.

There had been some debate about extending the season into December and even January, but a late November Grand Final would seem to be the most sensible option, in that it avoids potential issues with player contracts and avoids impacting next season too much.

The Challenge Cup wasn’t mentioned in the release from the Super League clubs, but it’s likely that competition will restart with the sixth round in August and finish with the final in October.

Whether Old Trafford will be available for the Grand Final and Wembley for the Challenge Cup final remains to be seen.

A date for fans being allowed back into stadiums remains flexible. Originally Super League clubs were working on the theory that 1 October was the earliest that could happen, but recent indications from government suggest it might be as early as September.

In the meantime the matches will be behind closed doors, with the select neutral venues most likely to be Headingley, Warrington, St Helens. Although Salford and Huddersfield also keen to host matches.

The advantage of the first three in particular is that they are all modern stadiums with good facilities and are owned by their clubs so there would be no potential clash with football co-hosts.

But the clubs will be mindful of the incidents in this weekend’s NRL game between Sydney Roosters and St George Illawarra in which two Roosters players – Victor Radley and Sam Verrills – suffered potentially season-ending ACL injuries.

The Roosters have made an official complaint about the state of the pitch at the Bankwest Stadium which has been the most used stadium since the NRL returned to action in late May.

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