Super League XXV

Last updated

Super League XXV
League Super League
Duration29 rounds (original)
22 rounds (revised)
20 rounds (final total played)
Teams12 reduced to 11
Matches played94
Points scored7,574
Highest attendance19,599
Hullcolours.svg Hull FC Vs HKRcolours.svg Hull KR
(7 February 2020)
Lowest attendance3,350
Redscolours.svg Salford Red Devils Vs Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield Giants (14 February 2020)
(Excludes games behind closed doors)
Average attendance4,171 [lower-alpha 1]
Attendance300,339;
Broadcast partners
2020 season
Champions Saintscolours.svg St Helens
8th Super League title
15th English title
League Leaders Shield Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors
Runners-up Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors
Biggest home win
Biggest away win Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 0–58 Catalanscolours.svg Catalans Dragons (15 August 2020)
Man of Steel Flag of England.svg Paul McShane
Top point-scorer(s) Flag of Scotland.svg Lachlan Coote (152)
Top try-scorer(s) Flag of England.svg Ash Handley (15)
Seasons

Super League XXV, known as the Betfred Super League for sponsorship reasons, was the 25th season of the Super League and 126th season of rugby league in Great Britain. St Helens were the reigning champions going into Super League XXV. At the start of the season, it consisted of twelve professional rugby league teams: ten from England, one from Canada, and one from France. Due to financial pressures related to the season suspension, Canadian side Toronto Wolfpack withdrew from the league in July 2020, and the league continued with just 11 teams.

Contents

The league was suspended on 16 March, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but a resumption to a revised format started again on 2 August. Among the changes were the cancellation of the annual Magic Weekend, which was scheduled to be played at St James' Park, Newcastle over the weekend of 23–24 May, initially postponed on 21 April before being cancelled completely. [1] When the season resumed, a revised date for the Grand Final was officially confirmed for 28 November. The final was scheduled to be held at Old Trafford, Manchester, but the venue became unavailable in October due to host club Manchester United's Champions League fixtures. [2] [3] On 22 October, it was announced that the Grand Final would now be played at Hull F.C.'s KCOM Stadium, and the date changed to an evening kick off of 8:00pm on Friday 27 November. [4]

Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic

Fixture postponement

On 16 March 2020, the RFL announced that all rugby league games had been suspended initially, until at least April, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. [5] However, on 24 March, Super League clubs held a Board meeting via conference call, attended in part by senior officials of the Rugby Football League, for further discussion of how to respond to the current public health crisis. It was agreed that until further notice, all rugby league fixtures will be suspended indefinitely. [6]

On 21 April, the RFL announced that the Magic Weekend fixtures scheduled to take place at St James' Park had been postponed due to the current lockdown situation. [7]

Season resumption

On 26 June 2020, it was announced that the competition will resume on Sunday 2 August 2020, with two games outstanding from rounds 2–7 to be played at a single venue. [8]

The results of matches played before the suspension will count towards the league table and 15 rounds are planned post-resumption. At the end of the season the top four teams will compete in two semi-finals with the winners meeting in the Super League Grand Final. This has a provisional date at the end of November 2020. [9]

The revised fixture list was published on 16 July, with the opening fixtures played on 2 August and then the all six round 8 games to be played at Headingley, Leeds on 8 and 9 August. [10] On the same day, Toronto announced that all the club's games for the remainder of the season would be played in England. [11]

Super League and Sky Sports agree on 2020 rights fees

On 22 June, it was announced that The RFL and Sky Sports had reached agreement over clubs' 2020 TV revenues, which recognises the huge disruption to this season's fixture calendar, and the significant impact it has had on broadcasting schedules. The agreement is subject to the sport resuming when government and public health advice allows. [12]

Toronto Wolfpack withdrawal

On 1 April 2020, Toronto Wolfpack issued a statement regarding their first three fixtures scheduled to be played at Lamport Stadium in Canada. Due to the suspension of rugby league, and the coronavirus pandemic events, the decision to confirm these postponements had been taken, following regular consultation with the Wolfpack, and given the specific issues around international travel to and from Canada. [13]

On 20 July, the club announced that they would be taking no further part in the restarted season, citing the "financial challenges" the club would be facing, including loss of gate money, medical testing and the hire of grounds in England, but that the club hoped that they would be competing in Super League in 2021. [14] The RFL and Super League issued a statement in response to the announcement, which said that both bodies were "very disappointed" by Toronto's decision, and that discussions about Toronto's future involvement in Super League would have to be held. [15]

It was later announced that Toronto's results were to be expunged, although individual player's records would not be affected, however any Man of Steel points earned in the matches against Toronto would be erased. [16]

On 3 August 2020, The RFL issued a further statement regarding Toronto, stating that they had terminated their contract for the remainder of 2020 season. [17]

Competition format

Although matches recommenced in August and the number of games was reduced from 29 to 22, a number of games were postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests among players and staff of the clubs. In response the RFL took the decision on 9 September to change the way league positions were determined. For the first time since the 1944–45 wartime emergency season league position was determined by win percentage (number of wins divided by number of games played) rather than by competition points, acknowledging that some clubs were unlikely to fulfil all their fixtures. The change was introduced immediately. The top four clubs would still qualify for the play-offs but must have played at least 15 games in order to participate in the play-offs. [18] During a meeting of Super League clubs at the beginning of November, Hull Kingston Rovers announced that due to the number of their squad affected by COVID-19 the club could not fulfil its remaining fixtures. The clubs therefore agreed to end the regular season after round 20 and extend the play-offs to include the top six clubs (rather than just the top four) as of 6 November. The clubs and the RFL also agreed to remove the requirement that teams had to have played a minimum of 15 matches to qualify for the play-offs. [19]

Teams

France location map-Regions and departements-2016.svg
Locations of Super League XXV teams

The season featured eleven of the twelve teams that participated in Super League XXIV. London Broncos were relegated after finishing bottom of Super League XXIV. [20] They were replaced by the 2019 RFL Championship winners Toronto Wolfpack, who played in Super League for the first time since being founded in 2017. [21] Due to their home ground Lamport Stadium being unavailable during the Canadian winter, Toronto were to play their first ten games in England, after initial plans fell through to play three home games in European cities such as Dublin, Republic of Ireland or Barcelona, Spain. [22]

The traditional two matches played on Good Friday and Easter Monday were to have been reduced to only one over the Easter weekend due to concerns over player welfare. [22]

A change to the rules saw clubs able to name a squad of 21 players two days prior to match days rather than 19 in previous seasons. However, should a club add a player to the announced squad, they would lose one of their eight interchanges for the match in question (players on dual registration deals with lower league clubs are exempt). [23]

Legend
 Reigning Champions
 Previous season League Leaders
 Promoted
Team2019 positionStadiumCapacityCity/Area
Castleford colours.svg Castleford Tigers
(2020 season)
5th The Mend-A-Hose Jungle 12,000 [24] Castleford, West Yorkshire
Catalanscolours.svg Catalans Dragons
(2020 season)
7th Stade Gilbert Brutus 13,000 [25] Perpignan, Pyrénées-Orientales, France
Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield Giants
(2020 season)
10th John Smith's Stadium 24,121 [26] Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
Hullcolours.svg Hull
(2020 season)
6th KCOM Stadium 25,400 [27] Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire
HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers
(2020 season)
11th Lightstream Stadium 12,225 [28] Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire
Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos
(2020 season)
8th Headingley 21,062 [29] Leeds, West Yorkshire
Redscolours.svg Salford Red Devils
(2020 season)
3rd (Runners up) AJ Bell Stadium 12,000 [30] Salford, Greater Manchester
   Saintscolours.svg St. Helens
(2020 season)
1st (League leaders & champions) Totally Wicked Stadium 18,000 [31] St. Helens, Merseyside
Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity
(2020 season)
9th Beaumont Legal Stadium 9,333 [32] Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves
(2020 season)
4th Halliwell Jones Stadium 15,200 [33] Warrington, Cheshire
Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors
(2020 season)
2nd DW Stadium 25,133 [34] Wigan, Greater Manchester

Results

Rule changes

Both golden point extra time and the shot clock, introduced in 2019, were retained for 2020 although the shot clock timings were reduced by 5 seconds each with only 30 seconds available for the forming of scrums and 25 seconds for the taking of a goal line drop out. [35]

As part of the work to restart the season, two major rule changes were made in July 2020 to apply for the rest of the season. Scrums were removed from the game and were replaced by a play-the-ball and an Australian innovation "six again" was adopted which replaces penalties for defensive infringements at rucks with a new set of six for the attacking team. [36]

Extra time

Game 1 (Wakefield v Hull FC)

The first game to go to golden-point was the round 6 game between Wakefield and Hull F.C. on 6 March 2020. Hull won the match 27–26, thanks to a Marc Sneyd drop goal, after the scores were tied at 26-all after 80 minutes.

Game 2 (Huddersfield Giants v Leeds Rhinos)

The second game to go to golden-point was the rearranged round 2 game between Huddersfield Giants and Leeds Rhinos on 2 August 2020. Leeds won the match 27–26, thanks to a Luke Gale drop goal, after the scores were tied at 26-all after 80 minutes.

Game 3 (St Helens v Hull KR)

The Third game to go to golden-point was the round 12 game between St Helens and Hull KR on 11 September 2020. St Helens won the match 21–20, thanks to a Theo Fages drop goal, after the scores were tied at 20-20 after 80 minutes.

Forfeiture

Round 19 saw the first occasion of a game being forfeited. Salford were due to play Warrington on 30 October but on 28 October Salford announced that the club was unable to complete the fixture due to being unable to raise a team and that they would therefore to forfeit the game. Under the RFL operational rules the game was awarded to Warrington as a 24–0 win. [37]

Regular season table

PosTeamPldWDLPFPAPPWPCTQualification
1 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 171304408278146.876.47 League Leaders Shield/Play-off semi-final 1
2 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 171205469195240.570.59 [upper-alpha 1] Play-off semi-final 2
3 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves 1712 [upper-alpha 2] 05365204178.970.59Elimination play-off
4 Catalanscolours.svg Catalans Dragons 13805376259145.261.54
5 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos 17100736939094.658.82
6 Hullcolours.svg Hull FC 1790840543692.952.94
7 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield Giants [upper-alpha 3] 18701131836786.638.89
8 Castleford colours.svg Castleford Tigers 16601032837986.537.50
9 Redscolours.svg Salford Red Devils 188010 [upper-alpha 2] 35446975.5027.78 [upper-alpha 4]
10 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 19501332450364.426.32
11 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers 17301429052655.117.65

Source: "Betfred Super League Table". BBC Sport. 11 November 2020. Archived from the original on 18 December 2020. Retrieved 18 December 2020.

Notes

  1. Where teams have the same win percentage, position is decided by points scored percentage (points scored divided by points conceded). [38]
  2. 1 2 Salford forfeited a game against Warrington. Under RFL operational rules, the game is recorded as a 24–0 victory for Warrington and converse loss for Salford with the points scored/conceded applying to both teams. [39]
  3. Huddersfield were placed on standby to take the place of any of the four teams in the elimination finals should one be unable to fulfil their fixture. [40]
  4. Salford deducted three wins by the Rugby Football League for failing to meet the terms of a financial commitment agreed in 2013. [41]

Play-offs

The play-off format was varied twice during the year. Originally planned to use the same top-five team competition as had been used in 2019, the reactions to the COVID-19 situation meant firstly in September, a change to a top-four straight knock-out system and then in October a subsequent change to a top-six system. [42]

Wigan and St Helens (who finished first and second respectively in the regular season table) had byes to the semi-finals, whilst the four teams who finished third to sixth (Warrington Catalans, Leeds, Hull FC) contested in two elimination finals, with the winner of those two games, Hull playing Wigan, and Catalans playing St Helens.

Despite being defeated in the elimination finals, Warrington and Leeds were retained on standby, should any of the four teams in the semi-finals, be unable to fulfil their fixture. On 17 November they were both officially stood down, when all the COVID tests for the semi-finalists came back negative. [43] The highest ranked losing team from the semi-finals (Catalans), remained on standby to compete in the grand final, if either finalists were unable to do so. [44]

Elimination play-offsSemi-finalsGrand final
1 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 29
3 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves 14 6 Hullcolours.svg Hull FC 2
6 Hullcolours.svg Hull FC 271 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 4
2 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 8
2 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 48
4 Catalanscolours.svg Catalans Dragons 264 Catalanscolours.svg Catalans Dragons 2
5 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos 14

Week 1: Elimination play-offs

HomeScoreAwayMatch Information
Date and TimeVenueReferee
Elimination final 1
Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves 14–27 Hullcolours.svg Hull FC 12 November 2020, 19:45 Halliwell Jones Stadium Liam Moore
Elimination final 2
Catalanscolours.svg Catalans Dragons 26–14 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos 13 November 2020, 19:45 Halliwell Jones Stadium Chris Kendall
Source: [45] [46]

Week 2: Semi-finals

HomeScoreAwayMatch Information
Date and TimeVenueReferee
Semi-final 1
Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 29–2 Hullcolours.svg Hull FC 19 November 2020, 19:45 DW Stadium Chris Kendall
Semi-final 2
Saintscolours.svg St Helens 48–2 Catalanscolours.svg Catalans Dragons 20 November 2020, 19:45 Totally Wicked Stadium Liam Moore
Source:

Week 3: Grand final

HomeScoreAwayMatch Information
Date and TimeVenueReferee
Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 4–8 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 27 November 2020, 20:00 KCOM Stadium, Hull Chris Kendall
Source:

Player statistics

Discipline

End-of-season awards

The Super League end of season awards were made on 23 November. The award winners were: [47]

Steve Prescott Man of Steel award

Paul McShane was one of five candidates shortlisted for the award, the others being Aidan Sezer (Huddersfield Giants), Lachlan Coote (St Helens), Liam Farrell and Bevan French (both of Wigan Warriors). [48]

Attendances

Notes

  1. Does not include games played behind closed doors.
  2. Although this game was played at a neutral venue, Wigan were the designated home team for the match.

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