London - Attacking
rugby will be rewarded with bonus points in next year's Six Nations,
organisers said on Wednesday, including match winners taking four points
instead of two.
The Six Nations is the last major rugby tournament to introduce bonus
points - Super Rugby had them from the inception of the competition in
1996, the World Cup brought them in from 2003 and the southern
hemisphere Rugby Championship and European Champions Cup also awards
The move, which will be on a trial basis and apply also to the
Women's and Under-20s Six Nations tournaments, will see the winners of
each match receive four points instead of two, but if they score four or
more tries they will garner a bonus point as well.
The new measure for the Six Nations has been called for by many within the game in recent years.
John Feehan, chief executive of the Six Nations, said they had sought
to strike the right balance between rewarding attacking rugby and
maintaining the climax to the showpiece - in the 2015 edition three
countries went into the final games with chances of winning the crown.
"The drama and excitement of the last weekend of the Six Nations
Championship is unique and is, more often than not, driven by a number
of teams on equal championship points all competing for first place on
the table," said Feehan.
"It is important for us to ensure that any bonus-point system which
is implemented would not, in any way, take away from this unique
"At the same time, we are also conscious that we must reward
try-scoring and an attacking style of play that will deliver more tries
and greater rewards for fans and players alike."
Even losing sides can come away with something if they meet certain
provisos, gaining one point for either losing by seven points or less or
for scoring four tries in a defeat, and two points if they lose by
seven points or less but score four tries in the process.
If there is a draw both teams split the points as before, only this time they will get two apiece.
A Grand Slam like England achieved in their first Six Nations under
Eddie Jones this year will see the team awarded three extra points,
which would give them some form of insurance over teams who might lose a
match but gain enough bonus points to overhaul the side that beat all
of their rivals.
Competition points will be awarded in all matches on the following basis:
- The country that wins the match shall be awarded four match points or (if it scores four tries or more in the process) five match Points.
- The country that loses the match shall be awarded no match points or (if it scores four tries or more in the process or loses by a margin of seven points or fewer) one match point or (if it scores four tries or more in the process and loses by a margin of seven points or fewer) two match points.
- Countries that draw a match shall each be awarded two match points and any of them that scores four tries or more in the process shall be awarded a further one match point.
- A country that wins all five of its matches (a "Grand Slam”) shall be awarded a further three match points.