Rugby: Bonus points proposed for Six Nations
A consultation paper is being circulated to the rugby unions of Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales, France and Italy, asking them to consider the idea of rewarding any team scoring four tries with an extra point. Additionally, losing teams finishing within a single score of the winners could also be rewarded.
The scheme has been widely adopted throughout all other levels of the game, including the Scottish RBS Premiership and the RaboDirect PRO12 league. The Six Nations is believed to be the only major competition in world rugby without bonus points.
One classic example of the benefit of bonus points was the Edinburgh v Racing Metro clash last season at Murrayfield in the Heineken Cup, which finished 48-47 and saw each team score more than four tries. The bonus point was the initial incentive for Edinburgh to start clawing back a 24-point deficit, but once back in the contest posted a win that seemed unlikely deep into the second half.
A major concern for the organisers is that the introduction of bonus points could mean that a team could potentially win the Grand Slam, but not the title, while a team could gain the “wooden spoon”, but not finish bottom of the table.
Currently, teams are awarded two points for a win and one for a draw, but that would change to four points for a win, two for a draw and a point for teams finishing within seven of their opponents or scoring four tries.
Had the scheme been introduced last season Scotland would have collected three losing bonus points, which would have meant finishing joint bottom with Italy instead of outright wooden spoon “winners”.