So, a new year, a new Strength of Schedule. If this is the first time you’ve seen or heard of this then head on over here to look at the first time we put this together and some of the details. But essentially the higher you are in the total points ladder, the larger your Strength number. And with away games, and touring games weighted increasingly it gives an overall difficulty for each weekly game, as well as a total across the year. All of this gives the below:
So this year, the fixtures and schedules are a lot more balanced, and there’s not too much that wouldn’t be particularly obvious:
Kiwi teams still dominate super rugby, so their schedules are relatively harder as they play in division twice, the Blues having by far an away the toughest schedule out there.
The Australian division has been kak, so with the Brumbies, Reds and Sunwolves occupying 3 of the bottom 6 positions, the Waratahs have easiest schedule. This is the biggest opportunity, similar to last year with the Brumbies where they had the easiest schedule. The Brumbies flattered to deceive last year, but IF the Tah’s can sort their shit out and step back up to be one of the top teams then there’s plenty of points to be had.
Other than that I think we use the schedule as we usually do, which is to help inform transfer strategy and match-ups in the next 2 to 5 weeks. And the one things that looks interesting to me is the Sharks opening their first 4 games with 4 of the bottom 5 teams from last year. So look, a lot can change from year to year, but this is one to keep an eye on. The sharks were very much a surprise package last year with points to be had across their backs.
Happy hunting folks, as always I’ll update this on a weekly basis, but probably wait until week 4, when all teams have played at least 3 games.