Two more double-headers for Leeds Rhinos as Summer Bash fixtures are revealed

Emerald Headingley will stage two double-headers in 2020. Picture by Allan McKenzie/
Emerald Headingley will stage two double-headers in 2020. Picture by Allan McKenzie/
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Leeds Rhinos will be involved in two Betfred Super League-Championship double-headers next season.

The Championship Summer Bash fixture between Toulouse Olympique and London Broncos, on Saturday, May 30, has been switched to Toulouse’s Stade Ernest Wallon as a curtain-raiser to Rhinos’ second away meeting of season with Catalans Dragons.

And Toulouse will take on London again at Emerald Headingley on the same day as Rhinos’ home clash with Catalans, scheduled for Friday, August 7.

Leeds will kick off their Betfred Super League campaign at home to Hull on Sunday, February 2 - immediately after Toronto Wolfpack play Castleford Tigers on the same ground.

Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington described the brace of Anglo-French double headers as an “exciting initiative for both the Super League and Championship competitions”.

He said: “It will provide our fans the opportunity to visit Toulouse for the first time when we play Catalans Dragons at the Stade Ernest Wallon in May, which I am sure will be a great occasion.

“Equally, we are excited to be hosting a second double-header at Emerald Headingley.”

Toulouse chairman Bernard Sarrazain said: “This double header in Toulouse will surely be one of the highlights of our season.

“We are delighted to welcome our Catalan friends again at Ernest Wallon.

“With our clash against London, just relegated from Super League, followed by the game between Catalans and Leeds, it will be a great rugby league party - and, of course, we look forward to coming back to Headingley.

“The Rhinos and their fans gave us a great welcome in 2018 and we keep a fantastic souvenir of this game.

“To play again in this rugby league emblematic stadium, especially in another double-header, is a great prospect for us.”

Bernard Guasch, the Catalans chairman, is equally enthusiastic.

He said: “I would like to thank the RFL, the London Broncos and the Leeds Rhinos for helping us to make this event happen.

"Once again, our club will make history in the competition with this great concept.

"It will be one of the highlights of the 2020 Super League season.

“Toulouse is a famous city of rugby and we are delighted to play again in the stadium of the last rugby union Top 14 champions.

"We will offer a great experience to all the rugby fans in Toulouse in May and then in Leeds in August.”

Meanwhile, the Championship's Summer Bash will again be staged at Blackpool's Bloomfield Road on May 30 and 31.

It will kick off on the Saturday with a derby between Batley Bulldogs and Dewsbury Rams, followed by York City Knights against Halifax and Featherstone Rovers versus Bradford Bulls.

The following day, Sheffield Eagles take on Whitehaven, separating games between Swinton Lions and Oldham and Leigh Centurions' clash with Widnes Vikings.

Mark Foster, the RFL's chief commercial officer, said: “The 2019 Betfred Championship Summer Bash weekend was one of the best yet and it’s great for us to be able to confirm we’re going back to Blackpool in 2020.

“It’s an exciting programme of fixtures with a couple of old favourites in the Batley-Dewsbury derby to kick things off on the Saturday and Leigh versus Widnes to complete the action on Sunday evening – as it did in such exciting fashion in 2019 when there was a great atmosphere in the stadium and we had excellent viewing figures on Sky Sports.

“But there’s a fresh new look to the remaining four games, with Oldham and Whitehaven involved again after their promotion from Betfred League One and Featherstone Rovers to take their old rivalry with Bradford to Blackpool for the first time in the climax of our Saturday programme – which means Halifax will also have new opposition in York City Knights.

“We’ve also worked hard to accommodate Toulouse’s imaginative proposals for a major new rugby league event in France and credit should go to London Broncos and Leeds Rhinos for their support.”

Summer Bash fixtures in Blackpool are: May 30 - Batley Bulldogs v Dewsbury Rams (3pm), Halifax v York City Knights (5.15pm), Featherstone Rovers v Bradford Bulls (7.30pm); Sunday, May 31 - Swinton Lions v Oldham (1pm), Sheffield Eagles v Whitehaven (3.15pm), Leigh Centurions v Widnes Vikings (5.30pm).

The full Betfred Championship and League One fixtures will be revealed on Sunday.