LONDON, (Reuters) – Bonus points will be awarded in a radical shake-up of next year’s Six Nations as tournament organisers seek to encourage teams to adopt a more attacking style of play.
The new system, which will be introduced initially on a trial basis, will award four points for a win, rather than two, and five should the winners score four or more tries.
Losing sides will receive a bonus point should they score four tries and another if they lose by less than seven points.
A draw will now be worth two points, rather than one, with an extra point for teams scoring four or more tries. Any team winning all five matches would receive three extra points.
“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,” Six Nations chairman Pat Whelan said.
“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,” he added in a statement.
The new system, which will also be trialled in the women’s and the Under 20s Six Nations Championships, will be evaluated after the tournament.
More often than not the Six Nations hinges on the final round of matches and chief executive John Feenan said any changes were designed not to interfere with the dramatic conclusions fans have become used to.
“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 points all competing for first place on the table,” he said.
“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.”