Six Nations to have bonus points
30 November 2016
Posted by on
For as long as I have been on the RFU Council, and this is my ninth season, the issue of bonus points for the Six Nations has been discussed by the 6N committee and each time it has been rejected. This is because the Grand Slam is seen as the pinnacle of the competition but with a bonus point for scoring four tries and another for losing by seven points or less, it is possible to win all your games yet finish in second place.
For example, Team A wins all five of its games but fails to gain a four-try bonus point in any of the matches so scoring a total of 20 points. Team B loses to Team A by seven points or less and wins the other four games with a try bonus point in each, thus scoring 21 points and winning the Championship.
So when I read the headline I wondered why there had been a change of heart. As ever the answer is in the fine print. The press release on the Six Nations site quotes the following rules:
(i) 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.
(ii) 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.
(iii) 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.
(iv) A Union that wins all five of its Matches (a “Grand Slam”) shall be awarded a further three Match Points.
Point (iv) is the crucial one; the extra three points for winning all your games will guarantee the Championship and the Grand Slam.
Well done to the Six Nations committee for finding a solution that encourages attacking play but retains the primacy of the Grand Slam