RBS Six Nations to trial bonus points system in 2017

December 1, 2016

Rugby fans planning to book hospitality packages for England's 2017 RBS Six Nations matches against France and Scotland will have an extra reason to be excited about the tournament, as a revised points system will be in place next season.

The current system of two points for a win and one for a draw is being axed in favour of a bonus point system designed to encourage more attacking play, as well as more resilience from teams in a losing position.

Under the new system, a victory will bring four points and a draw two, but, in addition to this, a winning side scoring four or more tries will pick up a fifth point. A team drawing but scoring at least four tries will earn a third point.

Teams losing matches will not necessarily finish empty handed. They will also be able to pick up a bonus point for scoring four tries and one for losing by fewer than eight points. If they manage both, they can pick up two points.

In addition, three extra points will be awarded to a team winning the Grand Slam. This will ensure a team winning all its matches, as England did last year, will be immune from losing the championship. This is because a clean sweep would guarantee at least 23 points even if they score no bonus points, whereas a side with four wins and a defeat but maximum bonus from every game can only reach 22.

Six Nations chairman Pat Whelan 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."

If the system had been in use for the 2016 championship, the teams would still have finished in the same positions, but with England on 24 points, Wales 16, Ireland 13, Scotland ten, France eight and Italy one. However, bonus points may make all the difference if two sides have the same number of points from wins, losses and draws. Indeed, this year's only points difference put Scotland ahead of France.

With three home games to look forward to - Italy being the other visitors to Twickenham - England will fancy their chances of retaining the trophy. Indeed, having won every game under Eddie Jones so far they will be favourites.

Ireland look like the strongest challengers after an autumn in which they have managed victories over the big three southern hemisphere sides. Their win in the US against New Zealand was their first ever, ending the All Blacks' record run of 18 wins in a row. Since then, they have enjoyed victories in Dublin against South Africa and Australia, with the Wallabies being brought back down to earth after starting their northern hemisphere tour with wins against Wales, Scotland and France.

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