Six Nations to introduce unique bonus point system in 2017
The Six Nations Council today announced the introduction of a bonus points system in the RBS 6 Nations, The Women's Six Nations and the Under 20s Six Nations Championships.
This system will be implemented on a trial basis in all three Championships in 2017 and will be reviewed post Championships.
As part of their review of the Championships, the Council took the decision to implement a bonus point system to encourage and reward try scoring and attacking play.
Competition points will be awarded in all matches on the following basis:
- The Union 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 Union 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.
- Unions 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 Union that wins all five of its Matches (a "Grand Slam”) shall be awarded a further three Match Points.
The new rules ensure that a team that wins the "Grand Slam" would be assured of winning the Six Nations. The least a Grand Slam winning team can earn is 23 points, while the most a potential runner-up could glean is 22.
The Six Nations began in 2000 when Italy joined the established countries of England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and France.
England and France have each won the title five times, with Wales claiming four titles and Ireland three.
Had bonus points been awarded in last season's Six Nations, the finishing order would have been exactly the same - England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, France, Italy.
Pat Whelan, Chairman of the Six Nations said: "We have been looking at the feasibility of a bonus point system for a while and examining what kind of bonus point system would work best, given the unique properties and format of our Championships.
"We needed to ensure that whatever bonus point system we selected would work with the already proven structure of the Championships and would serve to materially improve what is already there.
"We are happy that the system that we have decided to trial is the one best suited to our Championships and we are delighted to be going ahead with this new development. We believe that the initiative will enhance our competitions for fans, teams, broadcasters and all of those for whom the Championship means so much.”
John Feehan, Chief Executive of Six Nations said: "The drama and excitement of the last weekend of the RBS 6 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.
"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 dynamic. 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.
"We are very excited about the potential that this new development will bring to the Championships and we look forward to trialling it next February and March.”