Johannesburg - As sporting seasons go, the Limpopo Blue Bulls have had one of the worst anywhere.
Limpopo ended their first Vodacom Cup season on Saturday with a record 161-3 loss to the Golden Lions, conceding 25 tries in the game - also a record - and losing by the biggest-ever margin in top-level South African rugby. Lions wing Anthony Volmink scored nine tries and 47 points on his own.
Trouble is the new development team from South Africa's far north Limpopo province had a good chance to get used to those kinds of defeats this year. Of the seven games they played in the campaign through March and April, they unsurprisingly lost seven, and conceded more than 100 points in five of them.
The season statistics were pretty ugly for the Limpopo Bulls as they were trampled on for two months and conceded South Africa's biggest first-class rugby defeat twice in the space of two weeks when their 154-0 battering by the Pumas was followed up by this weekend's 158-point mauling by the Lions.
Those season stats finished as: games played: 7, games lost: 7, points scored: 32, points conceded: 781, tries scored: 3, tries conceded: 119 - three times as many as the next worst team.
Limpopo's battered players averaged more than 111 points against them per game over the course of the season. And all after a somewhat promising start when they lost by a relatively "close" 50-14 at home to the Griffons to start the season, scoring a try and registering nearly half their season tally of points in their opening game.
That promise disappeared rapidly with losses of 113-3 to the Leopards, 124-5 to Griquas, and the 150-plus-point drubbings by the Pumas and Lions. Even the Pretoria-based Blue Bulls, Limpopo's sister team, showed no mercy in a 110-0 hammering.
Fourteen different players scored tries for the Lions on Saturday, with Volmink's record-breaking ninth score coming a minute before the end and bringing to an end a memorably bad sporting season.
Limpopo won't be going to the playoffs, but should be back for another go next year.