THE Six Nations is considering introducing a bonus-point system in coming seasons.
The tournament is the only competition in world rugby that does not award bonus points and has previously resisted calls to move with the times.
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.
A consultation paper is being prepared for the six unions to consider awarding four points for a win, two for a draw and a point for teams who have scored four tries in a match, or for a losing team who finish within seven points of their opponents. Currently, teams are awarded two points for a win and one for a draw.
England are among the unions who are pushing for a discussion on the proposed changes, but it remains to be seen whether the appetite is there to tamper with the successful competition. "We have resisted the change for the past 10 years, but there is pressure to join the mainstream, not least from commercial partners, because it would potentially increase permutations in the table at the end of the season," an RFU member told an English newspaper.
"But the bottom line is that it is the system that people have become used to."
Bonus points reduce the chances of teams finishing on level points at the end of the tournament, although they would not have altered Ireland's placing last year.