RUGBY League fans raised thousands of pounds to help Rob Burrow and other motor neurone disease sufferers during Saturday's Challenge Cup Final and beyond.

By midnight on Sunday, the MND Association had received £26,000 in donations via the text-to-donate system created specifically to coincide with the match between Burrow's former club Leeds Rhinos and Salford Red Devils.

The MND Association has also attributed an additional £31,000 in online donations to increases in website activity related to showings of the BBC documentary Rob Burrow: My Year With MND, which was viewed more than two million times over two broadcasts, and the Challenge Cup Final.

The 17-16 win for the Rhinos attracted the biggest domestic TV audience for a Challenge Cup Final since 2012, when Warrington Wolves beat Leeds, and an increase of more than 50 per cent on the audience that watched The Wire beat St Helens in last year's final.

“Saturday’s Coral Challenge Cup Final was a wonderful advert for Rugby League and a tremendous credit to everybody involved – especially the clubs and players from both sides," RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer said.

"My congratulations go to Leeds Rhinos and my commiserations to Salford Red Devils. They created a magnificent spectacle.

“And on behalf of the RFL I’d like to thank the many others whose contribution was outstanding – first and foremost Rob Burrow.

"Our chief guest ‘in absentia’ was in all our hearts throughout the day and we are honoured to have such a wonderful human being connected with our sport.

“The BBC’s presentation was superb – engaging, informative, sensitive and thoroughly professional throughout.

"Clare Balding was typically ebullient in her first official engagement as RFL President, Lizzie Jones was another to hit the right note, and Jodie Cunningham and James Simpson were fantastic ambassadors for next year’s Rugby League World Cup.

“My only sadness and incredible frustration is that supporters – Rhinos, Red Devils and neutral fans alike – were not allowed inside the stadium.

"The game is not the same without them and we continue to make our case to government as powerfully as we possibly can.

“Finally, I’d like to thank our competition title partner, Coral, for their continued support and look forward to seeing Wembley Stadium packed to the rafters on 17 July 2021.”

With an aggregate of almost six million viewers the 2020 Coral Challenge Cup competition attracted the highest aggregate TV audience for five years – despite there being two fewer televised games due to the competition having to be restructured.

Tickets for the 2021 Coral Challenge Cup Final at Wembley Stadium will go on general sale in November.