2018 RFL Championship
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The 2018 Rugby Football League Championship is a rugby league football competition played primarily in the United Kingdom, one tier below the first tier Super League. The 2018 season is the fourth to consist of the Super 8s structure combining the Championship and Super League three-quarters of the way through the season.
|Betfred Championship 2018|
|Duration||23 rounds (followed by a league split into Super 8s for 7 more fixtures)|
|Highest attendance||38,881 Toronto Wolfpack vs |
Toulouse Olympique (19 May)
|Lowest attendance||312 Rochdale Hornets vs |
London Broncos (13 April)
|Broadcast partners||Sky Sports and Premier Sports for Toronto Games|
|Biggest home win||Featherstone Rovers 80–4 Rochdale Hornets (1 July)|
|Biggest away win|| Barrow Raiders 6–72 Toulouse Olympique (15 July)
Barrow Raiders 6–72 London Broncos (29 July)
The 2018 Championship features 12 teams, which all play one another twice in the regular season, once at home, and once away, totalling 22 games. The 2018 season also features the "Summer Bash Weekend" for a fourth time. This is a 23rd round of fixtures which replicates Super League's Magic Weekend concept for the Championship sides. After these 23 rounds in both the Championship and the Super League, the two divisions of twelve are split into three divisions of eight, the "Super 8s".
New sponsors for the league were announced in January 2018, and the league will be known as the Betfred Championship until the end of 2019. The bookmakers, Betfred, extended their sponsorship of rugby league to include the Championship and League 1 as well as Super League.
This year's competition features 12 teams. The teams consist of nine of the 12 teams from 2017, the champions of the 2017 League One season, the Toronto Wolfpack, and the champion of the League One playoffs, Barrow Raiders. Bradford Bulls and Oldham, the two bottom placed teams in the 2017 season, were relegated to League One, while Hull Kingston Rovers were promoted back to Super League after just one season in the Championship.
|Championship Shield holders|
|Promoted from League 1|
|Relegated from Super League|
|Team and current season||Stadium||Capacity||Location|
|Barrow Raiders||The JF Hornby Stadium||7,600||Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria|
|Batley Bulldogs||Fox's Biscuits Stadium||7,500||Batley, West Yorkshire|
|Dewsbury Rams||Tetley's Stadium||5,800||Dewsbury, West Yorkshire|
|Featherstone Rovers||LD Nutrition Stadium||8,000||Featherstone, West Yorkshire|
|Halifax||The MBi Shay||14,000||Halifax, West Yorkshire|
|Leigh Centurions||Leigh Sports Village||12,000||Leigh, Greater Manchester|
|London Broncos||Trailfinders Sports Ground||3,020||Ealing, London|
|Rochdale Hornets||Crown Oil Arena||10,249||Rochdale, Greater Manchester|
|Sheffield Eagles||Sheffield Olympic Legacy Stadium||2,500||Sheffield, South Yorkshire|
|Swinton Lions||Heywood Road||3,387||Sale, Greater Manchester|
|Toronto Wolfpack||Lamport Stadium||9,600||Toronto, Canada|
|Toulouse Olympique||Stade Ernest-Argelès||4,000||Toulouse, France|
Regular season resultsEdit
|1||Toronto Wolfpack||23||20||1||2||866||374||+492||41||The Qualifiers|
|5||Featherstone Rovers||23||16||0||7||819||420||+399||32||Championship Shield|
Toronto, London, Toulouse and Halifax will play in the 2018 Qualifiers together with Super League sides Leeds, Hull Kingston Rovers, Salford and Widnes. With points reset to zero, after each side has played each other once the top three teams will qualify for Super League XXIV in 2019. The teams finishing fourth and fifth will play each other in the Million Pound Game with the winner also qualifying for Super League XXIV. The losers of the Million Pound Game together with the teams finishing sixth, seventh and eighth in the Qualifiers will play in the 2019 Rugby League Championship.
The clubs finishing fifth and below in the regular season play for the Championship Shield. Points earned during the regular season are carried forward and after seven more games the top two clubs play in the shield final. Prior to the start of the season it was announced that the two clubs at the bottom of the table will be relegated to the League 1 for 2019, however following an emergency general meeting of the RFL on 13 September 2018 the Championship and League 1 clubs agreed that for 2019 the number of clubs in the Championship would be increased from 12 to 14. To achieve this the team finishing 11th will not be relegated and the team finishing bottom will play-off against the League 1 team that loses the League 1 promotion final[a] to decide which team will play in the Championship for 2019.
|1||Featherstone Rovers (Q)||30||23||0||7||1040||524||+516||46||Shield final|
|2||Leigh Centurions (Q)||30||20||0||10||1059||644||+415||40|
|8||Swinton Lions||30||4||2||24||502||1112||−610||10||Relegation play-off[b]|
(Q) Qualified to the phase indicated.
- The winning team in the League 1 promotion final will automatically be promoted to the Championship
- The relegation play-off is a single-leg play-off between the team finishing last in the Championship Shield and the team that loses the League 1 Promotional Final
- "Betfred become title partner of Championship and League 1". Total RL. League Publications. 11 January 2018. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
- "Betfred Championship and League 1 Structure 2019". Rugby Football League. 14 September 2018. Archived from the original on 16 September 2018. Retrieved 14 September 2018.