Six Nations to introduce bonus points system for 2017
Last Updated: 30/11/16 8:36pm
A bonus points system will be introduced in the Six Nations next year, the competition's council has announced.
This system will be implemented on a trial basis for the 2017 Championship - as well as in the Women's Six Nations and the U20 Six Nations - and will be reviewed after the tournaments.
The Six Nations Council made the decision to trial a bonus points system in an attempt "to encourage and reward try scoring and attacking play".
Competition points will be awarded in all 2017 Six Nations matches based on four criteria:
1. A team winning a game shall be awarded four match points or (if it scores four tries or more in the process) five match points.
2. A team 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.
3. Teams 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.
4. A team that wins all five of its matches (a Grand Slam) shall be awarded a further three match points.
A similar formula is already used in other major rugby union events like the World Cup, Rugby Championship, Aviva Premiership and Guinness PRO12, while the three additional points awarded for winning all five games removes the
unlikely possibility of a country having a 100 per cent record and still not being crowned champions.
Six Nations chief executive John Feehan said: "The drama and excitement of the last weekend of the Six Nations 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."
The 2017 Six Nations starts on February 4 with Scotland taking on Ireland at Murrayfield and England facing France at Twickenham.