Organisers confirmed the bonus point system would be introduced in time for the 2017 Six Nations Championship.
Throughout the last number of years an increasing number of fans and commentators have been calling on Six Nations organisers to introduce the bonus point system, bringing the tournament into line with some of the game’s other major competitions.
Although detractors have argued that bonus points could lead to teams adopting conservative tactics so as not to concede early scores, organisers relented and confirmed that bonus points would be introduced ahead of the 2017 tournament so as to foster attacking rugby.
While their decision has been broadly welcomed, bonus points could take away from the climactic final day of the season whereby three teams on equal points find themselves gunning for the title. After all, who can forget the roller coaster that was Super Saturday 2015?
Bonus points could also have unintentional far reaching consequences.
Indeed, much was made of Stuart Lancaster’s inability to land a Championship during his time in charge of England. However had bonus points been introduced in 2012, Lancaster would have led England to two titles, and possibly had enough credit in the bank to survive the sack following the 2015 World Cup.
In such a counterfactual analysis, Joe Schmidt might have found himself under a huge amount of pressure following the 2016 Championship. Although Schmidt would still have led Ireland to the 2014 title, that triumph could have very easily been seen as the peak of his reign.
Had bonus points been introduced in 2012, England would have regained the Championship in 2015. Schmidt would then have embarked on a 2015 World Cup campaign that saw Ireland fail to make it past the quarter final stage, and go onto suffer an underwhelming Six Nations campaign in 2016.
Such a scenario would have seen Schmidt under pressure prior to Ireland’s tour of South Africa, and there would have been calls for his contract not to be renewed as it appeared Ireland were regressing under his stewardship.
If such a counterfactual scenario did unfold, it’s not outside the realms of possibility that Schmidt could have been fighting for his job following Ireland’s 2-1 series defeat.
However, Schmidt began the 2015 World Cup with two titles to his name, and while there were calls for him to adopt a more expansive game, few questioned his credentials after Ireland appeared, in retrospect at least, to have left a series win behind in South Africa.
Consequently, while some might argue that bonus points will make little difference, in a results driven business they could prove hugely significant in deciding the margin between success and failure.
New Six Nations Scoring System Explained:
Four points for a win.
Two points for a draw.
Zero points for a defeat.
Grand Slam winners awarded three bonus points.
One bonus point awarded to a team that scores four or more tries in a single match.
One bonus point awarded if a team that loses by no more than seven points.
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena
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