Toronto Wolfpack and Toulouse Olympique have confirmed they will NOT be entering the Challenge Cup next season.
The two Championship clubs have omitted themselves from the competition, and will not partake in the Round Four when Championship sides join the competition.
Last season saw the Wolfpack crash out to Warrington Wolves in the sixth round, while Toulouse chose not to enter the competition last season also and last took part in 2017 where they lost to Batley Bulldogs.
There will be some fresh form of international flavour in the competition, however, with the confirmation of Red Star Belgrade’s inclusion, who will enter the first round draw which will take place at Emerald Headingley on December 14.
The Serbian outfit, who are an arm of the club with the same name who are former European Cup winners in football, have seen their application accepted after their recent success in the Balkan Super League and also through their retention of the Serbian Championship title.
Colin Kleyweg, the chairman of Red Star Belgrade Rugby League, said: “Red Star Belgrade are so proud to be a part of the 2019 Challenge Cup. This is a huge day for rugby league in Serbia and for all expanding nations that nurture local talent and local players.”
The club will be joined by 51 sides from across the community game in Round One with ties to be played over the weekend of January 26-27. Wales, Scotland and Ireland are also represented through Torfaen Tigers, Edinburgh Eagles and Longhorns respectively.
National Conference League Premier Division champions Hunslet Club Parkside are joined by 30 other teams from across the NCL divisions – including Kells and Normanton Knights, who both reached the Fourth Round of the 2018 Challenge Cup.
There are four clubs from the south of England: Hammersmith Hills Hoists and London Chargers, who came head to head in Round One in 2018; the All Golds (the phoenix club from Gloucestershire All Golds) from the West of England League; and North Herts Crusaders, the East League champions who will be making their Challenge Cup debut.
The North West Men’s League and Yorkshire Men’s League each have two representatives: Bentley and Batley Boys from Yorkshire; and Orrell St James and Haydock from the North West. Distington, who enjoyed a successful cup run in 2018 before falling to Betfred League 1 side Coventry Bears in Round Three, will again join the Cumbrian challenge, and Wallsend Eagles will fly the flag for the North East.
Teams from each of the Armed Services – the Army, the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force – will be joined by the British Police team in the draw.