Fans: Bulls have it easiest!

2013-10-09 15:30
Pierre Spies (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Following the release of the Super Rugby fixtures for 2014, Sport24 readers agree that the Bulls received the easiest playing schedule according to the relative strength of the teams on the basis of 2013's results.

Click HERE for the full 2014 Super Rugby draw!

A list of who the South African teams WON'T be facing next year:

Bulls: Crusaders (4th overall in 2013) and Reds (5th)
Cheetahs: Highlanders (14th) and Waratahs (9th)
Lions: Hurricanes (11th) and Brumbies (losing finalists)
Sharks: Chiefs (champions) and Force (13th)
Stormers: Blues (10th) and Rebels (12th)

In 2013, the Cheetahs had arguably the most favourable draw, missing out on the Brumbies and the Crusaders. In 2014 they have probably the hardest draw as they will miss out on easy points they might have earned against the last-placed New Zealand team (Highlanders) and the third best Australian team (Waratahs).

Last year the Stormers had the most challenging draw out of the South African teams as they missed out on playing the two worst Australasian teams (the Highlanders and the Force). In 2014 they will have a devilishly difficult Australasian tour, facing the top four placed Australasian teams (Crusaders, Chiefs, Brumbies, Reds respectively)  away from home on consecutive weekends. (Although this will mean that their home games will be easier to claim points.)

The Stormers also have the disadvantage of starting the season with a bye weekend, therefore losing the opportunity to rest players during the grueling Super Rugby season.

Although there are a number of other factors that obviously influence the difficulty of the fixture list (eg. the timing of byes, length of overseas/away games in succession, the difficulty of opponents faced home and away etc.), based purely on the calibre of opponents on the basis of the 2013 season's form, the Bulls appeared to have been the most lucky by dodging both the Crusaders and Reds in 2014 (both second in the New Zealand and Australian conferences respectively).

The Bulls will welcome an easier fixture list for 2014 following an exodus of Bulls players this season, including the likes of Francois Venter (Cheetahs), Juandre Kruger (France), Jano Vermaak (Toulouse), Morne Steyn (Stade Francais), Wynand Olivier (Montpellier), Dewald Potgieter (Japan), Jacques Potgieter (Japan), Zane Kirchner (Leinster) Wilhelm Steenkamp (Force) and Chiliboy Ralepelle (Toulouse).

Sport24 asked:

"Which SA team has it 'easiest'?"

This was the response:

"Bulls no Saders and Reds? What the hell kind of crap is this? That's one of the best matches in the damn calendar!" - Izzi Max

"For a change the Bulls have it easier!" - Wouter Venter

"Bulls with no Crusaders! That is a freebie." - Pieter Delport

"Of course the Bulls have it easiest."
- Eric Job

"Bulls again." - Eckard Nieman

"Bulls lucky."
- Steve Haag

"Bulls, they need it!" - Christo Wiggett

"Bulls soos gewoonlik altyd die maklikste." - Marchant Kriel

"I would not be focusing on that aspect, but focusing on wherever we play we are prepared enough to win."
- Jeremy Adam Walt

"The Bulls have it easy its always better not playing the 'Saders and lately the Reds have been doing very well, so not playing these 2 class teams is always easier." - MK

"No Crusaders and Reds for the Bulls. All the help they need shame." - Morne van Wyk

"I smell a rat and it's a rat in the dusty old cabinet at Loftus."
- Grant Wright

The Bulls were top of the pile in 2013, finishing top in the South African Conference. (Gallo Images)

Read more on:    bulls  |  super 15  |  rugby  |  mysport24

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