Johannesburg - SANZAR is about to introduce a radical new bonus point system to this year’s Super Rugby competition, with teams no longer getting the bonus point for scoring four tries, SuperSport.com reports.
The radical proposal, which mirrors a system being used in the French top 14, will now see teams needing to score at least three more tries than the opposition to score a bonus point.
The change, which is set to be announced on Thursday in Australia, is a tweak to still encourage teams to play attractive rugby in lopsided contests, and give both sides something to play for, while not taking their foot off the pedal if they have established a good lead in their respective games.
Thus if a team scores four tries, they will need to limit the opposition to one try if they want the bonus point. If the opposition scores twice, then the team will need to score five tries in order to claim the bonus point in the competition.
With the new format likely to be a tight affair across all four pools, the bonus points could well be crucial in determining the playoff rounds and teams will need to do their utmost to ensure they get these where they can to give themselves a greater chance of success in the latter rounds of the competition.
The new format was agreed upon at the annual SANZAR conference, attended by coaches, referees and officials across all five countries in the new look 18-team competition, with South Africa sending 10 delegates from SA Rugby as well as the various franchise representatives.
The move is part of several tweaks to the existing laws to try and make the game more attractive and accessible to fans, especially those in the new markets.
Super Rugby has always prided itself on the open, expansive approach of the competition and the aim is to see that more tries are scored in a competition which is visually attractive to develop further.
While there have been changes to the TMO protocol as well, and minor tweaks to the laws, the bonus point system will be the most radical shift in SANZAR’s Super Rugby vision and will attract some mixed emotions from some teams.
But since there have been games where teams have run up a big score early, then sent on all their substitutes and the opposition come roaring back into the game, it will make things a lot more interesting.
Another interesting addition that SANZAT will implement this season, is a system whereby the referee’s microphone is broadcast over the stadium sound system, to help fans understand what decisions are made and why they are made.
As it is often infuriating for fans sitting far away from the action that miss a particular piece of play, the innovation is keeping within the guidelines of educating while making decisions clearer.
SANZAR is likely to introduce this in “limited” stadiums as a trial, and it is likely to be extended if it is a success.
Super Rugby kicks off on February 27 with the first local game being between the Cheetahs and new Argentinean franchise the Jaguares.