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Leeds to begin Challenge Cup defence against St Helens

York City Knights will face Wigan.

Holders Leeds will begin their defence of the Betfred Challenge Cup with a blockbusting third-round tie against Super League champions St Helens.

The Rhinos are aiming for a fourth triumph in the last eight years while it is 13 years since the last of Saints' 12 victories.

St Helens have been drawn at home but the tie, one of four all-Super League clashes, looks certain to be shown by the BBC, who will screen two third-round ties at a neutral venue on Saturday, April 10.

The draw, which was made by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden during a visit to Warrington to mark the return of recreational sport, has paired York City Knights, one of four part-time Championship clubs in the last 16, with 19-times winners Wigan.

However, the Knights, who have moved into a brand new 8,000-capacity stadium, will not be able to fully cash in on the glamour tie since all the matches will continue to be played behind closed doors until late May at the earliest.

York, who lost out to Leigh in the bid to win a place in Super League in 2021, beat Sheffield Eagles and London Broncos to reach the third round stage.

Championship rivals Swinton take on 2019 winners Warrington while Widnes face a trip to last October's beaten finalists Salford and Featherstone, who last won the Cup in 1983, have been paired with Hull in a repeat of that final from 28 years ago.

Wakefield have drawn the short straw, with a trip to Perpignan to face Catalans Dragons to whom they lost in last season's competition.

Ties (to be played on April 9-11) are: York v Wigan, Swinton v Warrington, Hull KR v Castleford, Catalans v Wakefield, Featherstone v Hull FC, St Helens v Leeds, Leigh v Huddersfield, Salford v Widnes.

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