Six Nations
Six Nations considering bonus points
ESPN Staff
January 6, 2013
Ireland winger Tommy Bowe slides over for a try, France v Ireland, Six Nations, Stade de France, Paris, France, March 4, 2012
France and Ireland would still have been level in 2012 even with a bonus point system © Getty Images
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The Six Nations committee are reportedly ready to fall into line with other major international tournaments by introducing a bonus point system.

Both the Rugby World Cup and the southern hemisphere's Rugby Championship give bonus points for scoring four tries or by losing by less than seven points, as do the Aviva Premiership, RaboDirect PRO12 and Super Rugby. Currently winning teams in the Six Nations receive two points for a win and one for a draw, while teams level on points are separated by points difference.

The tournament has consistently refused the idea of introducing bonus points citing history and the fact 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. Furthermore a side that was whitewashed would not finish bottom if it picked up five losing bonus points and the team above them only had one victory and no bonus points.

Now though the Rugby Football Union has led the push to open up the debate about a system that would have meant Ireland and France still finished level last year, but meant Italy would have been bottom in 2011 on 'points obtained' rather than points difference.

"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," an RFU member told The Guardian, "but the bottom line is that it is the system that people have become used to."

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