No Six Nations relegation

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 20:20

NEWS: Six Nations Chief Executive John Feehan says there are no plans for promotion and relegation to be introduced into European Rugby Union's showpiece international tournament in the "short to medium term".

Following the 2015 World Cup in England, there were renewed calls for some form of promotion to give the likes of Georgia and Romania a chance of having access to more meaningful matches.

But Feehan has little time for relegation talk.

"In the short to medium term there is not any genuine likelihood of that happening," he said

The last major shake-up to the tournament saw Italy added to the old Five Nations in 2000.

Italy have since finished bottom in 11 of the 17 subsequent Championships, but Feehan said there was no chance of the Azzurri being relegated any time soon.

"Some comments are very unfair about Italy," Feehan said. "We think they have been a good addition to the Championship since they have entered.

"They have improved dramatically but other teams have improved dramatically - it's a relative thing."

The Irishman added: "It's not that long ago they beat South Africa in the autumn series so they are capable of beating anyone on their day and worthy participants.

"We are very happy with how the Italians are approaching things.

"There is a long way to go in terms of being competitive to win the title. But on any given day they can beat any of the sides and they have done that, apart from England [the reigning Grand Slam champions]."

This season's Six Nations, which starts on Saturday, will see bonus points trialled for the first time, although a side that completes a Grand Slam will nevertheless be guaranteed the title.

"It is something we have considered for many years but resisted to date," said Feehan.

"If you look at the Six Nations, it is inherently unfair because some teams have three home games and other teams have two home matches in any given year and there is an imbalance.

"That word balance is key and we are looking to see whether the benefits we get on encouraging more tries to be scored is better than any direct imbalance."

But the immediate effect of bonus points when they were introduced in both the European Cup and the English Premiership was a reduction in the number of tries scored, with teams having an extra incentive to narrow the margin of defeat.

Former England flyhalf Stuart Barnes was scathing about their arrival in the Six Nations.

"The Six Nations problems have not stemmed from a try shortage but bad rugby and bad rugby matches can overflow with tries," wrote Barnes in The Times.

Agence France-Presse

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 23 March 2018
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Connacht v Edinburgh 19h35 Sportsground
Dragons v Cheetahs 19h35 Rodney Parade
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 19h35 Scotstoun
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Kings v Treviso 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 15h15 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h30 Thomond Park
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Ospreys v Leinster 19h35 Liberty Stadium
Jaguares v Lions 19h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 25 March 2018
Leicester Tigers v Wasps 15h00 Welford Road
Sun, 18 March 2018
Waratahs v Rebels 51 | 27
Sat, 17 March 2018
Jaguares v Reds 7 | 18
Wales v France 14 | 13
Lions v Sunwolves 40 | 38
England v Ireland 15 | 24
Stormers v Blues 37 | 20
Italy v Scotland 27 | 29
Brumbies v Sharks 24 | 17
Highlanders v Crusaders 25 | 17
Fri, 16 March 2018
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 31 | 25
Edinburgh v Munster 12 | 6
Chiefs v Bulls 41 | 28
Sun, 11 March 2018
Wales v Italy 38 | 14
Sat, 10 March 2018
Jaguares v Waratahs 38 | 28
France v England 22 | 16
Team P W D L Pts
Ireland 5 5 0 0 26
Wales 5 3 0 2 15
Scotland 5 3 0 2 13
France 5 2 0 3 11
England 5 2 0 3 10
Italy 5 0 0 5 1