Big six to break with tradition

Sun, 06 Jan 2013 14:02
Large six nations captains Large six nations trophy2 Large sam warburton six nations t Large six nations trophy

The last remaining bastion of the amateur era's traditions looks set to fall.

The last remaining bastion of the amateur era's traditions looks set to fall.

According to a report in The Observer the Six Nations countries are considering finally joining the world-wide trend of awarding bonus points to the competition.

The Six Nations remains the only competition in Rugby Union that does not have a bonus-points system.

A consultation paper has been prepared for the six countries to consider, bringing the venerable competition into line with the Southern Hemisphere's Rugby Championship and World Cup in having bonus points for scoring four tries or losing by a margin of seven points or less.

The Six Nations has consistently rejected proposals to fall in line with the rest of the world, arguing the amateur history and success of the tournament meant change was not necessary.

According to The Observer England are among the unions who believe the subject should be properly debated.

Under the current system, teams get two points for a win and one for a draw. Sides who are level on points are separated by points difference, itself a relatively recent innovation: in the amateur era the championship would be shared if there was no outright winner.

A bonus system, which doubles the value of a win and a draw, reduces the chances of teams finishing level on points, although it would not have split Ireland and France last season as both would have claimed three bonus points. The difference it would have made in 2011 is more profound: Italy would have been bottom on 'points obtained' rather than points difference.

One argument that has been used in the past against bonus points for the Six Nations is that it would make it mathematically possible for a team that won the grand slam to finish second in the table if they did not secure any bonus points and their main rival had a full house.

And a side that was whitewashed would not finish bottom if it picked up five losing bonus points and the team above it only had one victory and no bonus points.

"We have resisted the change for the past 10 years, but there is pressure to join the mainstream, not least from commercial partners, because it would potentially increase permutations in the table at the end of the season," said an RFU member, "but the bottom line is that it is the system that people have become used to."

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 27 November 2015
Leinster v Ulster 19h35 RDS Arena
Glasgow Warriors v Treviso 19h35 Ascoli Piceno
Edinburgh v Dragons 19h35 BT Murrayfield
Northampton Saints v Gloucester 19h45 Franklin's Gardens
Sat, 28 November 2015
Sale Sharks v Newcastle Falcons 14h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Harlequins 15h00 Sandy Park
Ospreys v Cardiff Blues 15h00 Liberty Stadium
Saracens v Worcester Warriors 15h15 Twickenham
Munster v Connacht 17h15 Thomond Park
London Irish v Wasps 17h30 Twickenham
Sun, 29 November 2015
Scarlets v Zebre 14h30 Parc y Scarlets
Leicester Tigers v Bath 15h00 Welford Road
Team P W D L Pts
Ireland 5 4 0 1 8
England 5 4 0 1 8
Wales 5 4 0 1 8
France 5 2 0 3 4
Italy 5 1 0 4 2
Scotland 5 0 0 5 0