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Super Rugby schedule strength: Blues have had the weakest run so far

By Ned Lester
Super Rugby Pacific stars Tate McDermott, Stephen Perofeta and Johnny McNichholl. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images, Hannah Peters/Getty Images and Joe Allison/Getty Images

Don’t let the Super Rugby Pacific standings mislead you; only half of this race has been run and the home stretch looks significantly different for most teams, meaning all seedings are far from safe.

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In this exercise, we look at which teams have had the toughest and easiest schedules to date, calculated by taking the win percentage of each team’s respective opponents and finding the average. We then look at which teams have the most and least favourable schedules remaining in the season, using the same method, to provide a clearer picture of what the seedings might look like when it comes to locking in quarter-final matchups.

Below you’ll find the rankings of teams’ strength of schedule, ordered from least to most difficult, with the average win percentage of their respective opposition in brackets.

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Schedule strength so far

12. Blues (35.4% opposition win rate)
11. Brumbies (38.1)
10. Chiefs (38.7)
9. Fijian Drua (40.7)
8. Hurricanes (42.5)
7. Rebels (47.7)
6. Waratahs (52.7)
5. Moana Pasifika (55.4)
4. Reds (56.8)
3. Highlanders (63.8)
2. Crusaders (64)
1. Western Force (64)

The Blues have had the weakest schedule of all teams during the opening half of the season, with an average opponent win percentage of just 35.4. The team currently holds the top place on the Super Rugby Pacific ladder, having played one more game than the unbeaten Hurricanes, so they’ve certainly made the most of the cards they’ve been dealt.

The Reds have had the fourth most trying schedule to date while occupying sixth place on the Super Rugby Pacific table, making them one of the most impressive performers from the first half of the season. As you’ll see below, when we analyse the remaining schedule, the Reds are in a very promising place indeed to move even further up the table.

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes have had the eighth most challenging schedule, proving their unbeaten run hasn’t been without challenges, but life certainly isn’t going to get any easier as the season progresses.

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Two spots above the Hurricanes with the sixth most difficult schedule to date is the Waratahs. Boasting just one win in the season so far, the Sydneysiders will be disappointed they haven’t made the most of their opportunities thus far. The Waratahs are however the only team who face an even season split in their schedule strength, so as you’ll see below, any improvements in record the team make on the home stretch will be genuine.

The Crusaders and Western Force, owning the bottom two places on the Super Rugby Pacific table, have each faced the toughest schedules so far and will gladly accept the more competitive slate of fixtures heading their way in the coming weeks.

However, not far at all behind those two with an average opponent win rate of 63.6 per cent is the Highlanders. The Southerners have claimed two wins already in the season and sit in eighth place. With the worst behind them, expect the Highlanders to creep further up the standings in the second half of the season.

Schedule strength remaining

12. Reds (36.2% opposition win rate)
11. Western Force (44.5)
10. Crusaders (45.7)
9. Moana Pasifika (46.7)
8. Brumbies (47)
7. Highlanders (49.1)
6. Waratahs (52)
5. Fijian Drua (52.4)
4. Hurricanes (53.7)
3. Rebels (54.7)
2. Chiefs (56.8)
1. Blues (58.8)

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Related

Yes, the Reds have struck gold with their 2024 season schedule, facing comfortably the easiest remaining schedule. The Queensland team have only one remaining game against a team currently sitting above them on the table.

Western Force and Crusaders fans rejoice, brighter days are coming and while no wins are guaranteed, there’s cause for more confidence as the teams face some relatively weaker opposition.

The Brumbies sitting with the fifth easiest remaining schedule projects to leave the Australian heavyweights right at the top of the Super Rugby Pacific table again this year, as the team already sit third in the competition standings with just one loss. That being said, their next two encounters are against the Blues and Hurricanes, the only two sides above them on the ladder. So, there’s potential for things to get a little worse before they get better.

The universe is balanced; having enjoyed the easiest schedule in the first half of the season, the Blues now face the hardest remaining schedule with only two games against teams with under a 50 per cent win rate.

The Super Rugby Pacific table could look very different indeed once quarter-final time rolls around.

Super Rugby Pacific

P
W
L
D
PF
PA
PD
BP T
BP-7
BP
Total
1
Blues
7
6
1
0
27
2
Hurricanes
6
6
0
0
27
3
Brumbies
7
6
1
0
27
4
Chiefs
7
5
2
0
23
5
Rebels
7
4
3
0
19
6
Reds
6
3
3
0
16
7
Fijian Drua
7
3
4
0
13
8
Highlanders
6
2
4
0
11
9
Moana Pasifika
7
2
5
0
9
10
Waratahs
7
1
6
0
8
11
Crusaders
6
1
5
0
6
12
Force
7
1
6
0
5

 

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