Our Six Nations permutations guide

  • Phil Harlow, BBC Sport journalist
  • 13 Mar 07, 11:14 AM

Phil HarlowLondon - As we count down to the final weekend of Six Nations action, there are still four teams with a chance - mathematically speaking, at any rate - of winning the title.

If, like me, maths in not your strong point, pens, paper, a calculator and a protractor may well be required for what follows....


Three teams (France, Ireland and England) are level at the top of the Six Nations table on six points, with the sides separated by points difference.

The French lead the way on +42, with Ireland not far behind on +38 and England +13.

* France, the bookies' favourites, need to beat Scotland at home on Saturday (15.30 GMT kick off)and maintain their points difference advantage over Ireland.
But if France lose, draw or win narrowly, the championship could well open up for a first Irish success since 1985.
However, crucially France have the advantage of playing after the final whistle will have blown on Ireland in Rome, so no matter what Eddie O'Sullivan's men do, the French will take to the field knowing the size of the task before they kick off.

* Ireland travel to Italy (13.30 kick off) and will hope to beat an Azzurri side weakened by injury and possible suspension by a big enough points difference to pile the pressure on France. Their best chance will lie in forcing the French force the pace in Paris.

* England will also at least know what they need to do to win the championship as they kick off last against Wales in Cardiff (17.30 kick off).
But for instance, if Ireland win by 10 points in Rome, that would mean beating a backs-to-the-wall Welsh side by 36 points. Realistically, they must win and hope both France and Ireland slip up.

Incidentally, in the unlikely circumstances the top two teams are level on points difference as well as points, the trophy is awarded to the team who scored the most tries during the Championship. If it is still level, the trophy is shared. By my reckoning, the tally of tries as it stands is:-
9 France and Ireland
8 England
7 Italy
5 Wales
4 Scotland

* Italy still have an outside chance of the title, but they need to beat Ireland by some distance, and hope that Scotland and Wales both win handsomely. The odds of around 300-1 on some exchanges probably reflect the reality of their chances.

But there is also still interest at the other end of the table as well.

* Wales will be desperate to avoid the wooden spoon in front of their own supporters at the Millennium Stadium against England, and if they can win by at least five points they can haul themselves off the bottom of the table, presuming Scotland lose to France.

* Scotland, whose points difference (-31) is only only marginally better than Wales' (-36), need a win or a draw from their game against France to make sure of avoiding bottom place. But a decent win in Paris could even see them overhaul Italy in fourth place by virtue of points, if Italy (-26) lose to Ireland

So, who do you expect to be lifting the trophy on Saturday?

If I were a betting man - and I am - I would be tempted to stick a cheeky few quid on Ireland to come through on the rails and pip France, seeing as it's just after the Cheltenham Festival, it's St Patrick's Day and my father-in-law to be is a proud Irishman.

On a related note, does anyone else think the time has come to introduce the bonus point system used in most other major competitions, including the Tri-Nations and the Guinness Premiership, these days?

(Under this system, it's four points for a win; two for a draw; one for losing by less than seven points; and one for scoring four tries or more)

I'm a fan as it encourages teams to continue attacking to the last moment, even if the overall result of the match is beyond doubt.

I know that doing away with the standard two points for a win, one point for a draw system would end more than 100 years of history, and the traditionalists could well point out that there hasn't exactly been a lack of excitement under the present system.

By my reckoning, under this system, the table would look like this:

1. Ireland (14 points)
2. France (13 points)
3. England (13 points)
4. Italy (9 points)
5. Scotland (5 points)
6. Wales (1 point)

So not radically different to the table as it is, but Ireland would have gone into the final round of games in the box seat thanks to picking up a losing bonus point in their heartbreaking defeat to France earlier in the tournament.

Time for a change or leave it as it is?

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 03:00 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Dave Snowden wrote:

I agree with you on adopting the bonus point rule - as per the Celtic League. The table would of course not look the same. One of the advantages of a bonus point system is that it encourages teams to compete up to the last minute

  • 2.
  • At 03:07 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Alistair wrote:

Think the bonus point system would be a great idea. Everone knows France are only on top because Italy were uncharacteristically awful in the opening match. Nevertheless, disagree with you about Ireland winning this time around. Their away form like everyone else has been far worse than their home form. I'm not saying they'll lose but even as a Scotland fan, I fancy a pretty decent performance from the French this weekend back at home. It's going to be closer at the bottom of the table than at the top I think though that might depend on how much ball the Welsh get

  • 3.
  • At 03:18 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • w0zzee wrote:

If bonus points were introduced to the Six Nations then it would actually be possible for one team to win the Grand Slam and not the Six Nations Championship, which is complete and utter nonsense.

  • 4.
  • At 03:18 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • James wrote:

Lots of permutations as to the title, but I disagree wholeheartedly with changing the points system to how the Premiership operates with the crazy bonus point system for a loss ... If you lose, you should get nothing, If you win, maybe you can get a bonus point if you score a number of tries (that would encourage more positivity) but is more positivity going to help the game (makes it more watchable) or will it ruin the basic skills even more?

  • 6.
  • At 03:28 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • coops18 wrote:

Good article, especially the last bit about the points system.

I think that a bonus point system similar to the Guness Premiership is a good route to take as not only does it encourage more running rugby, but it also opens up the tournament and would make it much closer.

I don't think the two point system is that crucial to traditionalists - in the last 100 years the tournament has gone from 4 nations to 5 nations to 6 nations, and has gone from strength to strength. If France and Italy were allowed into the tournament, I'm sure a new points system can be too.

  • 7.
  • At 03:30 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • leigh price wrote:

Just seen the Welsh team to play England on Saturday and draw one conclusion, as long as Gareth Jenkins remains as coach of the team Mike Ruddock will remain the last coach to win the Grand Slam. The man seems to be oblivious to the fact he is not up the job as he continues with the same lineup

  • 8.
  • At 03:30 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Harry wrote:

I agree, the point system should be changed in favour of the tri-nations system. As Phil says, even though the six nations has been exciting as it is, the new system will encourage more open play that bit more. There's always the odd game that's a boring all penalties encounter and the new system should help avoid that. My brain doesn't expect it, but my heart says England for the title.

  • 9.
  • At 03:31 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Stefan wrote:

No way can bonus points be introduced. If everyone played each other home and away then there would could be an argument for it. As it stands bonus points would give even more of an advantage to the teams with 3 homes games.

  • 10.
  • At 03:34 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • stephen lane wrote:

By my reckoning Ireland would have won two other championships in the last decade if the Heinekan Trophy points system applied - so I'd be entirely in favour of it.

For example, last year we scored 4 tries & lost by less than seven points in Paris!

  • 11.
  • At 03:35 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Bruce wrote:

An advantage of a change would be that Ireland would go to Rome trying to win with 4 tries. As would France vs Scotland and England vs Wales.

Leave as is - I really dislike the bonus point stuff for anything besides long leagues since it can skew the league tables unreasonably.
3/1/0 gives a much clearer gap between a winning team and a losing team - see the problems F1 have with the current points system there allowing non-winning drivers to win championships.

  • 13.
  • At 03:41 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Greg wrote:

The Bonus Point idea is a great idea and definitely something that should be considered for future tournaments.
Imagine a side winning by 21 pts to 20 but score 7 penalties against 4 unconverted tries....unlikely I know but surely the losing side should get some reward for showing such attacking intent! Whereas under current system - losing team gets 0 pts....if it was implemented 2 points would surely be just reward!
Even Magniers League uses it and it really encourages attacking flair.
So Yes - Six Nations Committee should sit down and seriously discuss it.

  • 14.
  • At 03:41 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Michael wrote:

Very Interesting Blog indeed, I also like the idea of the bonus point system for future tournaments. This year its been a terrific tournament here are my predictions for the final day.

Ireland V Italy:
Im going for Ireland by 15-20 points. Its going to be a tough game against an excellent Italian pack, but I beleieve Bergamasco will be suspended and Canalle is injured, leaving the Italian backs suspect to the far superior Irish backs. I dont believe the Italians have the ability to breakdown the Irish although they mite have more possesion, their kicker is not the most reliable and depending on the Irish team, even with O'connell absense, the Irish our my clear favourites.

France V Scotland.
Id love to see the Scots turn the French over but the French at home are going to be far to strong, with Patterson boot and a strong defence that mite keep the scorline respectible enough to see the Championship decided by a meer point or two. France by 15 points.

Wales V England.
Although England beat France last week I think that Wales will beat England. They will be playing for their lives and we still have to remember that Wales do have a good team. This one is going to be tight though so I think Wales will sneek it by 5 points.

Overall Fingers crossed Ireland to win the Six Nations By 1 point Score difference.

  • 15.
  • At 03:42 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Jon wrote:

I don't think bonus points are a good idea. It would be possible (although unlikely) for a team to win a Grand Slam but lose the Six Nations title on bonus points. That would not be good.

  • 16.
  • At 03:43 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Matt Robinson wrote:

Interesting suggestion. My only concern is that a team could achieve a Grand Slam and not finish top of the table.
A team could win four matches with try bonus points and lose the fifth by less than 7 for a total of 21 points, whereas a team which won all five matches without try bonus points would only gain 20. Probably unlikely admittedly.

  • 17.
  • At 03:43 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Niall wrote:

I agree with the idea of using the bonus points system! It would make for a better, more attacking Championship.

  • 18.
  • At 03:44 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Darren wrote:

I don't think the bonus point system should be used for the six nations, although i'm a big fan of it in longer competitions or say in deciding a world cup group. It discourages just playing for penalties. However with such a small number of games in the 6 Nations it wont work. Can you imagine winning the Grand Slam with possibly a team finishing above you on 21 points. Even a team who loses all their matches could pick up 10 bonus points. Enough to get over a team who had beaten them but failed to pick up bonus points.
Grand Slam 5 wins no bonus points = 20pts
4 Wins + bonus point (4 tries) in each and 1 for losing by less than 7 = 21pts
I know if Ireland don't win the 6 nations we'll be saying France only won it by 3 points in the last minute against us but they still will have won it.

  • 19.
  • At 03:47 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • westwalesed wrote:

Leave the points system as it is, no question about it. Top level rugby is all about concentrating until the final whistle, and frankly, Ireland didn't do that and France did.

  • 20.
  • At 03:49 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Rob Parker wrote:

I'm certainly in favour of the bonus point system!

I'm a Rotherham Titans fan and several times this season have seen us involved in games that have been exciting right until the final whistle that would have petered out under the old system. Often going into the last few minutes of the game you have teams with the win sewn up but need another try for the bonus point, or on the other hand you also get times when a team cannot win the game in the last few minutes but have enough time to get near enough to secure a losing bonus point.

The system works a treat at all levels of rugby and as for those traditionalists who say this is contrived, well, they said the same about the 5 point try!!

Bring on Saturday! Come on England!!

  • 21.
  • At 03:49 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Chris Tagg wrote:

Firstly - congratulations on a well thought out and presented article.

Secondly, I believe that France, Ireland and England will all win - though England will only just scrape past Wales - and France will take the title on points difference.

On the subject of the bonus point system; would its introduction radically change a team's outlook? I'd be interested to see the difference in the average number of tries scored per game when they were worth 4 points as opposed to now, when they are worth 5 points. I think some may be surprised at how small the difference is!

Looking forward, I find it hard to see Wales and Scotland qualifying for the last 8 of the World Cup in the Autumn... which will comprise New Zealand, Australia, Sout Africa, Argentina, England, France and Italy. I'd be interested to hear other people's thoughts on how they can turn things around.

  • 22.
  • At 03:49 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

Its been a hefty competition so far and supporting ireland all the way has given way to many ups and downs. I must admit, i was heartbroken at the loss to france, especially as it took place at croker. St. Patricks day however is on our side, Italy are running into trouble both injury and possibly suspension wise, and the boys are going to try and make up for the close call with scotland. All we need is for our celtic cousins to up the pace and unseat the gallic favourates on their home turf and even st patrick himself would be getting smashed on the black stuff. Its going to be a close call, and if I were a religious man, I'd start praying. I'm not though, so it looks like guinness will have to be rock. Here's to banging saturday.

  • 23.
  • At 03:50 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Gerry wrote:

The only argument I've heard against introducing the bonus point system is that theoretically, a team could achieve the Grand Slam but still lose the championship (5 wins without a BP, versus 4 BP wins and a BP loss).

Its an unlikely situation and such a possibility hasn't stopped the BP system being used in the Tri-Nations.

  • 24.
  • At 03:52 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Bean wrote:

Good id. With some luck, teams constantly banging the ball through the posts, England, Scotland et cetera, will be at a disadvantage, like you said, allowing for more running rugby.

  • 25.
  • At 03:54 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • doug wrote:

I think changing the points system would be wrong for a tournment so steeped in tradition. If you introduced bonus points, a team that wins the grand slam could end up not topping the table, cause they didn't achieve any bonus points and another team has managed to pick up bonus points. That would be very unfair, it's like topping the premiership by a mile and then losing in the final!

  • 26.
  • At 03:59 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • jon phillips wrote:

A great idea to introduce the points system as in the rugby premiership, and as for changing things, you need to alow the game to evolve, as was the case of introducing other rule changes such more points for tries and changes in the lineout rules.

  • 27.
  • At 04:04 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Danny wrote:

As an Irishman, yes change the system before the weekend please !!! Do nicelly indeed.

But new points system does add to the uncertainty and enjoyment, look at the result of classic maatches that Munster have had to do with getting to the knock-out stages of the HC in recent years.

Please Scotland... do us a favour this weekend, the same as when you drew against Bulgaria for the 1990 WC finals in Italy.

  • 28.
  • At 04:04 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Japro wrote:

Yeah, let's go to the new system, I think bonus points encourage teams to play and maximise their efforts.

  • 29.
  • At 04:09 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Darren wrote:

I do not think that the bonus system should be adopted here because of the fact there is only 6 teams and the chance of a team who may have won most games but still lose out on the title due to the bonus points difference.

Premiership is different. there are 12 teams with 22 rounds so a lot more to go for.

If the 6 nations was played both home and away the bonus point system may be worth it.

Actually what do people think of 6 nations being home and away?

  • 31.
  • At 04:14 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • paul o'loughlin wrote:

i think the bonus point system would be an excellent idea, it would mean that teams like scotland would have to go out and try to score some tries and not spoil games. with the exception of the first five minutes against italy scotlands matches have been awful viewing all tournament

also how about a grand final between the top two teams in the championship?

  • 32.
  • At 04:23 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • KMS wrote:

Can't see Ireland topping the table. Bar one excellent display against England, the other three have been fairly poor, even if we did manage to grind out victories... that's not the mark of a top-class side, much as I hate to admit it.

Even more interestingly, the overall mood would still be one of disappointment that we didn't take the Slam even if we sneak the Championship - which tells you how far we've come in the past few years.

  • 33.
  • At 04:27 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • James wrote:

Great blog, some good points made. As an irishman I'd definitely have preferred the new bonus point system as you have rightly pointed out we'd now be prime candidates for our first title since I was a mere 1 year old! But regardless of that, I honestly reckon its time to introduce it for the simple reason that more often than not it forces teams to play to the end - a full 80 mins.

Predictions for the weekend - well if St Patrick smiles down I could still get my coveted T-shirt with the words 'Ireland - 6 Nations 2007, Triple Crown 2007 and World Cup 2007 Champions'!!!

  • 34.
  • At 04:30 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Greg wrote:


Italy 10 Ireland 32
France 26 Scotland 13
Wales 19 England 13

So Ireland to win by a margin of ............5 points.

It`s gotta be.....after all is St Patrick`s Day.

  • 35.
  • At 04:31 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • hendy wrote:

w0zzee makes a good point in post number 3. It could be possible to loose the championship and win a grandslam.
As much as bonus points drive teams on to score more tries, there just seems little need for this at present. Never enjoyed a 6 nations tournament more than this year.

  • 36.
  • At 04:31 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Noel Slattery wrote:

It has to be left the way it is at the moment !
Because of the factor that home advantage stands for alot when the countrys are so close. If you wanted to go for the bonus point set up you would have to have a home and away competion and that would add to the growing amount of games in a season for any team..
Also that would then would leave us with the same scenario as with the French this year when thay want out of the Heinken Cup because of the amount of games there players have to play this season.
I say leave well alone, Its history and history stands for its self !

  • 37.
  • At 04:35 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Paneleiro wrote:

I am a fan of the bonus point system, however if introduced into the six nations you could end up with a team winning a grand slam, but not finishing top of the table. I agree that it is very unlikely, but if a team wins all five games, but gets no bonus points, they would end the tournament with 20 points. Another team could win all but one game, get a bonus point in every game, and end the tournament with 21 points (possibly even 22 as you can get a losing bonus point and a try bonus point in the same game).

  • 38.
  • At 04:37 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • brian wrote:

In theory I quite like the bonus points idea but I'm sure the law of unintended consequences would kick in somewhere and produce a perverse result eventually!

  • 39.
  • At 04:41 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Paddy in Canada wrote:

As an Irish man living in Canada I wish I was home this weekend because I think it is going to be one of the most exciting days in Rugby for a long time. And all taking place on St. Patrick's Day, that has to be an omen. If he was able to rid Ireland of snakes surely he can work a miracle for us on his own holiday.

A 3 way tie on the last day is an incredible way to round off the 6 Nations. I don't count Italy simply as 1000-1 at one bookie's website means they are effectively out of the race.

I think it is only a matter of time for the 6 Nations points system to change as the IRB have adopted the bonus point system for this year's Rugby World Cup. This is the way the rugby world is moving so why shouldn't the 6 Nations move along with it?

  • 40.
  • At 04:42 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Uncle Paddy wrote:

Bonus Point system would be stupid.

If we had a bonus point system in 2002, England would of won the championship despite France winning the Grand Slam.

Does anybody honestly think this is fair?

Also a win is a win if Italy beat France 3-0 does that mean it's worth less than if Ireland beat Scotland 28-0 scoring 4 tries?

  • 41.
  • At 04:43 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • sue nicholas wrote:

An overhaul is well worth investigating. Perhaps someone with more time on their hands than me could calculate the effect the Celtic League system would have had on each finishing table since the Six Nations was introduced, to see if it would have made a radical difference to the result. The quest for points could make the last 10 minutes of a match quite tense and therefore compelling viewing.

  • 42.
  • At 04:49 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • sue nicholas wrote:

An overhaul is well worth investigating. Perhaps someone with more time on their hands than me could calculate the effect the Celtic League system would have had on each finishing table since the Six Nations was introduced, to see if it would have made a radical difference to the result. The quest for points could make the last 10 minutes of a match quite tense and therefore compelling viewing.

  • 43.
  • At 04:51 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • bugler wrote:

No to the bonus point idea. It is not suited to the competition. It could give rise to a situation where a side could win the Grand Slam and not be the 6N winner. Which is perverse, obviously.

  • 44.
  • At 04:51 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • jim wrote:


The uniqueness of the 6 nations format means that either 2 or 3 games each year will be played away from home without the prospect of a return. That is why the tournament is so exciting, The "one-off" nature of each game combined with the desire for the Grand Slam is enough to encourage exciting rugby.

Since Italy joined, the home and away uneveness has got worse hence the comparative rarity of Grand Slams.

Your suggestion means that a team could get a grand slam but lose the title by virtue of bonus points.

If we (and I am going on results since 6N began) take the top 3 teams France England and Ireland

Lets say that we ignored the scores and just looked at results this year. Then allocated bonus points by virtue of home advantage (i.e. expect home wins to be significant and home losses to be close)

It would be England in the Box seat going into the last weekend with 15 and assuming the top three all won with appropriate BP aloocation France and England would tie, with Ireland in third.

Then look at the split of games. The 6 nations has clearly been 2 tier since day 1 with France England and Ireland at the top and the remainder at the bottom. (Yes I know Wales won once but listen on).

England have been denied three grand slams - All in close matches away from home.

France - could argue the same.

Wales - have won one by virtue of 2 close games at home against the favourites and a Hare and tortoise match in Paris.

All bonus points will do is enhance Home advantage and give the bottom three a chance of some points.

6N is unique, we either keep it that way or we change it properly and have home and away legs (that should excite the club v country argument)

  • 45.
  • At 04:54 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

Question. Under the bonus point scoring system, if you lose by less than seven points but score 4 tries in the process then do you get 2 bonus points?

  • 46.
  • At 05:06 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Benjy wrote:

What about having 6+2=8 points for a try? That would encourage try-scoring, but within the game itself and without having to fiddle with such a (slightly) convoluted bonus points system.

  • 47.
  • At 05:07 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

I like the idea of rewarding teams who try and keep games close/score more tries. However, the two points already made make this inappropriate for the six nations.

1. No home and away matches means things are slightly imbalanced - handing a further advantage to sides playing 3 games at home.

2. There is the chance of a team winning all 5 games but coming second. Slim tho.

  • 48.
  • At 05:08 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • David wrote:

good posting and some interesting ideas - not sure about the comment from w0zee - while theoretically it may be possible the chances of happening are slim - a team would need to get bonus points in at least three games versus the grandslam team not getting any - can't see it happening in a decade or even a century of competition. I don't agree with Thom May either: 3/1/0 is the same or worse winning margin as the proposed 4/2/1/0. only if a losing team also got the bonus points would the gap be less - and anyone who gets four tries on a Saturday or Sunday will get my attention and should get a point in reward. I am all for it!

  • 49.
  • At 05:19 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Alaska Dave wrote:

leave it as is,professional players are paid to play hard to the end,thats what the fans pay for,as an irishman ex-pat living on the arttic circle I havnt paid for a 6N ticket in 20 years but I am sure they are not cheap.In regards to the coming games on Saturday, france will win the Championship and rightly so, they are the most consistent of the six teams.

  • 50.
  • At 05:28 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Larrikin wrote:

Yes, definitely. Encourages attacking play, increases the chance of excitement so widens the games appeal. Widens the scope for pub banter too.

  • 51.
  • At 05:30 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Olann wrote:

I'm not sure France necessarily have the upper hand when it comes to playing after Ireland on Saturday. If the Irish only stutter to a win over Italy by a couple of points then they wouldn't have challenged the French anyway (presuming France beat Scotland). However, if Ireland rack up a strong victory over the Italians then that puts massive pressure on the French, who will in all probability force the game in an effort to regain the upper hand. As we saw on Sunday (and Bernard Laporte as much as admitted) I'm not sure this French team handles pressure situations all that well...

  • 52.
  • At 05:35 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • InBodwetrust wrote:

Id like to see the bonus point system introduced but only reward a team with a bonus point if they have scored 4 tries and not if they have lost by less than seven points.the bonus point would encourage more attacking play .

  • 53.
  • At 05:37 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Eoin wrote:

Poster 9 (Stephen Lane) I'm afraid you are incorrect on 2 counts. 1) While Ireland scored 4 tries we lost by more than 7 points in Paris last year (12). 2) Ireland would have won no championships in the last 10 years if bonus points were part of it.

I've put all the "non grand slam years" through a spreadsheet to determine would the bonus point for 4 tries and/or losing by 7 points or less affect the outcome of the championship and interestingly it didn't. On 2006 France would have won with 19 points to our 17 (as they did on points difference anyway). The previous 4 years were grand slams and bonus points would not have affected the winner. 2001 England would comfortably beat us on bonus points (as they did on points difference). The previous year England would still have won but bonus points would have separated Ireland/France/Wales exactly the same as points difference did.

My conclusion is the bonus point system wouldn't make any change to the winners who currently win on points difference. In fact it probably wouldn't even affect the also ran positions split by points difference.

.... however ....

If there were bonus points, interestingly, France may have opted to kick a penalty when 8 points down to England on Sunday towards the end, instead of going for the try they needed to get back into the game. They could have rescued a bonus point, and be level with Ireland going into the final round of matches. While Ireland on paper seem to have an advantage if there were bonus points, teams behave differently, like France would have in the example above.

Also, Wales may have opted for a draw in Rome on Saturday, as 2 points would be valuable when trying to avoid the the wooden spoon, and would have put them only 1 point behind scotland. Italy would have been stripped of the win, and the outside chance of winning the championship, if Wales had done so.

Looking at the championship retrospectively isn't helpful, as the behaviour chasing a bonus point would probably have changed some of the results in the past.

The format works in the Heineken Cup because teams are potentially competing against teams in other groups so every point accumulated matters. It rarely will figure in the order of teams in the final group, but will in seeding or qualifying. There are 6 games in the Heineken Cup as opposed to 5 in the 6 nations which also matters. The more the games the more the bonus points matter (see the Magners league for example).

  • 54.
  • At 05:45 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Cameron Gordon wrote:

Or - even more radical. How about doing away with points all together and run the entire thing on Points Difference??? Then we'll see more tries - and full 80 minute games of attacking rugby.


  • 55.
  • At 05:49 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Gahman wrote:

As has been said above, the bonus points system would make things more interesting, however - it wouldn't be really be fair unless the games are doubled up with home and away legs.

But that's not the really interesting part. Was hoping you were going to go into more detail with the permutations and combinations, so I will.

Ireland vs. Italy
Ireland have consistently scored roughly twenty points against Italy over the last few years, and won each time by more than ten. With the Championship in their sights, they are likely to come out all guns blazing and take immediate advantage of Italy's injuries. But no walk in the park, due to missing Paul O'Connell.
Verdict: Ireland by 12-15 points

France vs. Scotland
So the Scots have been awful so far - however they did beat the French last year, a fact that everyone seems to have forgotten about (though I doubt either of them have!). Plus, for what it's worth, France's winning margin against Scotland prior to that had been falling year after year. Never mind France's winning margin, it's not at all unlikely that Scotland, bitter at almost beating Ireland, might win. It'll be close - France are rattled. Plus they will most likely know that they have to beat Scotland by at least a converted try.
Verdict: Scotland by a penalty.

England vs. Wales
Inconsistent over the last few years. Highly unlikely that Wales will win, although they will probably be ahead by 5-10 points at half time. They will remember 2005 and play with heart, but England's young guns to come out blazing after half time, just like against France and rack up three tries in no time, certainly to put themselves in a position where they might leap-frog both Ireland and France, but won't make it in the end.
Verdict: England to win by 20 points.

  • 56.
  • At 05:49 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Ryan Cullen wrote:

I agree with the third have a team winning the grandslam and then not winning the championship would be ridiculous. I am by no means a traditionalist and I do think that the Bonus point system that has been brought in in recent years has reinvigorated Rugby Union, however I don't think it is feasible in the six nations.

  • 57.
  • At 05:51 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Tony wrote:

I have to agree with Stefan.
If Home and Away fixtures were the format, bonus points could spice up the tournament, but home advantage counts strongly in the competition in its current guise and would therefore contribute very little , if anything to the tournament at present.
Look at this weekend, three possible winners, no easy bonus points available, just straight forward win and win by a known margin.

The bonus point system would not work in the Six Nations because the teams only play each other once either home or away. It would be much easier for a team to rack up a bonus point at home than it would away from home.

Does anyone know what they will do with the trophy on Saturday? Surely they must have replicas, so that there is a trophy in Cardiff, Paris and Rome for whoever wins it?

  • 59.
  • At 06:05 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • joe lonergan wrote:

My predictions are that Ireland will beat Italy by 7-11 points. France to stroll past Scotland by 20-25. Wales will be up for it aginst the English but unfortunately for them will get that spoon made of wood. But the power of St Patrick's day could just swing it for the Irish. I hope so! No title since 1985. Its been too long!

  • 60.
  • At 06:23 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Jacob wrote:

The problem of winning a grand slam but not the championship could be avoided by introducing a further bonus, of say 5 points, for the grand slam itself.

  • 61.
  • At 06:27 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Sean Field-Lament wrote:

I whole heartedly agree that the bonus point system should be adopted. Look at the Tri-Nations it works there. It would make for more attacking/scoring style of rugby- imagine France knowing they had to score an extra try to gain the championship winning bonus point with 5 minutes to go- edge of seat stuff. Good article.

  • 62.
  • At 06:35 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Hm wrote:


Who cares who wins the "Championship"?

It is irrelevant. The only thing worth winning is the Grand Slam, and that's it.

It is like arguing about how to structure the 3/4 place playoff in the world cup. Utter waste of time. Nobody cares.

  • 63.
  • At 06:49 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • joe lonergan wrote:

I think HM is one of those bitter Englishmen who try and belittle everything just because their own team is struggling. I bet he'd love a triple crown right now. I f you win the Grand slam thats great. But the championship is the important thing.

  • 64.
  • At 06:50 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Michael wrote:

France, Ireland and England victories. I think Ireland and England will both struggle away from home but get the 2 points while France will comfortably bounce back from last week to take the title on points difference.

And it should stay at 2 points, why award losing? It's not about winning pretty it's about outplaying the opposition and being awarded for winning not losing.

  • 65.
  • At 06:54 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • ben hoskins wrote:

bonus points would be ridiculous.

they're bad enough anyway - whilst a draw should be worth half a win, why on earth should losing by 7 points be worth half a draw? stuart barnes had a point when he claimed that if anything you should get even less for losing by 7 points or under.

but above all, the idea that a team could win the grand slam but not the championship is absurd. i imagine england would have been very close to winning in 1990 if this had been the case. furthermore, the 6N is actually LESS than the sum of its parts - the main thing is each individual test match. you hear the itish coming out with something like "at the end of the day its two points in the bag" or some such wendyball speak when they stuffed the english at croke pk?

  • 66.
  • At 06:56 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

I've got a sneaking suspicion that if Ireland can't dominate Italy in Rome, and France can't put too many past Scotland, then England will be well up for going for a big win against Wales.

It will of course need the very best England to turn up and the very worst Wales, but all of the pointers were there this past weekend.

Interesting that each contender has had one big win (Eng v Sco, Ire v Sco, Fra v Ita) and one banana skin (Eng v Ire, Ire v Fra, Fra v Eng). Playing last and knowing what job has to be done will be a big advantage for the French and English, and that's why I think this won't be Ireland's year.

  • 67.
  • At 07:00 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Dan Elliott wrote:

I certainly agree with the bonus point system it seems like a great way to throw the championship open a bit more and would definately encourage the teams to compete more and to try and develop the game into a bit more of a rugby game - at the moment it is all too easy to win the game on kicks alone - look at the last few games (Ireland v England an exception) most of the points have come from kicking with 1 or 2 tries.

With regard to the actual title my prediction would be Ireland to win beating France on points difference with England coming in just behind them. As far as the individual games my predictions are England to win by 15 points, Ireland to win by 12 points and France to win by 5 points. I wouldn't care to place any money on the actual points however I would certainly bet an England beating Wales with Ireland and France also winning. Of course I would like to see both Scotland and Italy winning their games along with England of course. However I do not think Scotland or Italy are likely to win but England will. St Patricks day could prove to be a jinx for the Irish and France realing from the defeat at Twickers last week might just underestimate the Scots. WhO knows?

  • 68.
  • At 07:05 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

I agree with the bonus point system in certain circumstances. The GP, with its restrictive style benefits from this. However I don't think the system would work in the 6 nations. Teams do not seem to be to narrow in their playing styles. All of the sides, perhaps minus Italy for obvious reasons, have tried to play good rugby. Even at times playing too much touch rugby.

And also I can't help but suspect that the year they change the rules, someone will win a grand slam but lose the tournament.

  • 69.
  • At 07:12 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Mike Moloney wrote:

Great finish to the 6N this Saturday whatever happens.
I would share the reservation expressed about the bonus points system insofar as there is a home game advantage involved for some teams. One way of overcoming this problem would be to introduce a seventh team into the competition.....Argentina (based in Barcelona/Madrid) anyone!
Overall though would see it as a positive move as it has enhanced many European Cup games.

  • 70.
  • At 07:21 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • trev wrote:

bonus point all the way

Wholeheartedly agree about the bonus system. I'm a New Zealander and we've had the bonus point in both the Super 14 and national championship for years now and it works well. You'll get teams who may be a long way ahead still playing attacking rugby to get that fourth try and losing teams still trying to get within seven points at the end of the game. A fairer competition and better value for the fans, win win situation.

  • 72.
  • At 08:05 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Alan wrote:

#20 Chris

I can't agree that Scotland will not make it through the group stages in the RWC. The Italians did very little to beat us at Murrayfield - merely open their arms and intercept passes, then give away penalties which we refused to kick. Apart from the stupidities, the Scots more than matched the Italians in possession, territory and scoring. We may be a bit generous again at the RWC - but surely not to that extent - so the Italian game should hold no fear for the Scots.

  • 73.
  • At 08:12 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • cr wrote:

how about awarding extra points upon winning all of your matches so that the winner of the grandslam is guaranteed to take the championship? not as arbitrary as you'd think considering that you get a point for losing by less than 7 points as it stands! and while we're at it allow argentina in too. que viva la revolucion!

  • 74.
  • At 08:20 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Tom wrote:


  • 75.
  • At 10:01 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • adam wrote:

my heart says england for the 6 nations but i think ireland will do it.

Regards to points i like the idea of bonus points but add one more rule and beat all 5 teams and you get a bonus 5points and that shouls give them victory.

  • 76.
  • At 10:18 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Terry wrote:

Interesting ideas about adding Argenina, I always thought the distance would be a problem, didnt cross my mind to base them in Spain! Would add another very strong side, allowing them to show how good they really are on a competitive stage, while also meaning all teams had equal home and away games. Most of their players already play here, meaning joining the tri-nations could be difficult and I think we would be more open to the suggestion than Oz and co.

  • 77.
  • At 10:33 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Phil James wrote:

Super Blog,really like the idea of the bonus points system being adopted. It seems to work in all other spheres of rugby so why not?

Indeed, although this season has been exciting by the chance of three sides winning the championship (excting that is as long as your not Welsh!) the extra points system could mean that all 6 nations competitions remain competetive until the final weekend.

As for the Welsh, the mathematical fact that they could escape the dreaded wooden spoon comes as no consolation, we are where our management have taken us.

It is a long, long journey back.
So lets start by demonstrating a willingness to change things if they are wrong. England did it, 11 changes and a remarkable and deserved win against France.

Whilst we continue to ignore the claims of Colin Charvis, Brett Cockbain, Adam Black, Gavin Henson and Hook at 10 et al, things will continue their inevitable downward spiral.

  • 78.
  • At 10:40 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • David Ross wrote:

Much more important than a bonus point system is improved refereeing at the breakdown. Too many teams are allowed to kill the ball - no quick ball no tries. England lost to Ireland by a big score because Ireland got quick ball. The Welsh complained about the Irish but I think it was the other way round - the Welsh killed the ball. The Scots killed the ball against the Irish and nearly won. England v France was pretty dire because both teams killed the ball.
Use the yellow card properly and lets keep the ball moving so that we can enjoy running rugby.

  • 79.
  • At 10:44 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Colin wrote:

I like the bonus point idea, and I don't see the problem with the fact that it is mathematically possible for a side to get a grand slam and finish 2nd.

Firstly, the grand slam is a great prize in itself. Secondly, for this to happen the side with the grand slam had to win unconvincingly with out scoring many tries against even the weakest opposition, and to only just scrape past the side who get 1st place on points. While the 1st place side will have had to play great attacking rugby and have been good to watch. In which case the 1st place side is justly rewarded with the championship and the side that beat everyone is justly rewarded with the grand slam. But if they want both the grand slam and the championship, they will have to play better attacking rugby, which is the point of the bonus point system.

Of course, in reality, the chances of getting the grand slam and not winning the tournament would be pretty slim. Has anyone got a grand slam recently without at least one 4 try victory?

  • 80.
  • At 10:46 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Jrw wrote:

Doesnt matter what point scoring method you use - come the World Cup all the Northern Hemisphere teams are so far behind the All Blacks, maybe Ireland have a chance but they have to believe in themselves.

  • 81.
  • At 11:13 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Jon wrote:

I'm in favour of the bonus point system, it does encourage attacking rugby, but also allows great defences to show themselves under heavier pressure. Think about it, England are 13 points up against Wales, 10 minutes left, the chances are, that the Welsh are going to have to throw everything at England to gain that bonus point. A converted try or 2 penalties suddenly puts much more pressure on everyone involved rather than the game being near dead as a contest.

As for it increasing home advantage, how about solving it this way, bring in Argentina, 3 home games and 3 away games a season. If people really must get picky about the distance (I'd love the rugby to be an excuse to go to Buenos Aires!) then make them play in Madrid or somewhere like that. But given the amount of time between games (even the one week turnarounds and even with the England players playing for their clubs) it's enough time to go there, acclimatise, train and prepare fully.

  • 82.
  • At 11:21 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

The argument in favour of the bonus point system is that it would produce more attacking rugby, and reward more tries. The counter arguments are a grand slam winner finishing second (addressable by GS bonus points) and the more pertinent comment from the spreadsheet guy, that it really wouldn't have made any great difference on the basis of analysing previous results. Actually what we are all looking for is MORE TRIES ! Can any of you remember when a try was only worth three points though no one reading this will remember when a dropped goal was worth more than a try. Rather than tinkering with the 6N league table, we should follow the historical precedent, that as rugby has evolved it has increasingly valued the try, and simply ensure, as people previously have, that more points are awarded for a try, if that is what we consider the most important score of the game.
And I for one, do!
Raising the points for a try to 6 might be one way, but I suspect the more subtle, and more in keeping with the original intention of the try, (i.e. a try to make a goal) would be to raise the value of the conversion to 3 or even 4, the value of a conveted try just under or even equaling 3 penalties/DGs. Adjusting the conversion would also increase the potential value of the complete run around beating everyone and dotting down under the posts from the just sneaking in at the corner. And also the value of the penalty try. Any takers ?

  • 83.
  • At 12:00 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • nick wrote:

Please no bonus point system!!!!!

It does not encourage teams to look for more tries, good teams do this anyway, all it serves to do is give the underdog a chance of securing a point if they can play negatively enough to lose by fewer than 7 points!

Imagine Italy (I don't mean to have a go, they do fantastically well considering their resources), they hardly play an open game as it is! Do you seriously reckon they'll open up their game more in the hope of getting more tries, or will they become even more negative in order to ensure only a narrow defeat.

It is a terrible system that actually does the opposite of what it sets out to do, I would possibly be in favour of a bonus point awarded for tries, but nothing for losing.

I don't really see why the system needs to be changed at all, we've had some cracking games and on the last day of the championship 2 (I wish I could say 3) teams have a real chance of winning it.

  • 84.
  • At 12:21 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Melvin wrote:

#21 - You only mentioned 7 teams for the RWC QF's. You'll probably find that Wales become number 8. I also think that Scotland will maintain their place as a top 8 team and keep Italy out.

FAO of all the anti-Bonus Point Club. The arguement that a team can win the Grand Slam but not the 6N is a weak arguement. For this to happen, they would have to not score any bonus points. With that knowledge in mind, when they are playing against the weaker teams who they score 2/3 tries against anyway, there will be an extra emphasis to get try #4, knowing that the opportunity is there and worth seeking. This is the entire point of the BP system. Behavioural patterns will change completely, meaning more permutations and more change, which will be more exciting for the spectator.

Can you imagine a team winning a grandslam, without scoring four tries in one game, in the same season as another team scores four tries in EVERY game, except somehow manage to suddenly lose their form in one game and lost against the Grand Slam winning team?

Finally, they can just put an extra bonus point in for winning the GS!!

  • 85.
  • At 02:07 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Joe Lonergan wrote:

Argentina should definitely be allowed to enter the TRT-NATIONS.

Or are the people who run things down there scared?

I mean why did New Zealand get the next world cup and not Japan?

  • 86.
  • At 02:15 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • joe lonergan wrote:

Argentina are in the Southern Hemisphere. Thats why they would they would play in the tri-nations.

  • 87.
  • At 02:20 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • bill wrote:

If you really want to have a bonus point system, and want to make sure that a team can't win a Grand Slam but still lose the Championship, then all you have to do is award, say, ten points for a win. The bonus points would then only kick in if teams were level on wins, but would still be an incentive if the Championship was up for grabs, especially in the final round of matches.

On the other hand, as our gridiron cousins say, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". And it isn't broke.

  • 88.
  • At 03:15 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Andrew Waldron wrote:

On the one hand, anything that disadvantages the French is fine with both Al Murray and myself.

On the other hand, had the system you suggest been in place in previous years would it not have equally advantaged all sides from time to time, leaving no overall advantage to anyone?

I was at Twickenham on Sunday and there's nothing like simply beating the French with no chance that any criticism of the scoring methodology might mitigate their loss.

Ologys may be good but they're not THAT good.

  • 89.
  • At 03:25 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Rick wrote:

After initially thinking the bonus point system would be cracker (I'm Irish, we would be top!), noticing the comment on 'a Grand Slam winner could possibly not win the 6 nations', it does make sense to keep it the same ol' way.
But would probably make the game even more competitive and exciting. Oh its a tough one to call!

  • 90.
  • At 04:18 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • dave twyman wrote:

I dont agree at all. If you had the bonus point system and one team won every game but failed to pick up a four try bonus point they would score 20pts,and the second place team won four games with a four try bonus point and lost the last game but within 7pts thus gaining a losing bonus point,they would end up with 21pts thus we would have a grand slam winning team who would not be celebrating the championship! ask any of the players they think winning the championship is great but the grand slam is what they all want,

  • 91.
  • At 08:13 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Peter wrote:

I think the bonus point idea is ridiculous. Get thee behind me Satan!! Were you paid license payers money to write that article?!?!?! The tournament is great as it is (well, the structure, if not the quality of the rugby).

The table is there to show which team is best - not to try to encourage attacking rugby.

Your system putting Ireland higher than France is plain crazy, frankly (nothing against Ireland). And if you want more attacking rugby, try to find ways of making players more skillful and more fit. Or find a way to make referees a bit less whistle happy.

  • 92.
  • At 08:14 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Euan Millar wrote:

a bonus point system would be interesting, as a team could win the grand slam but not necessarily the championship!

  • 93.
  • At 08:39 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Jim from Croydon wrote:

Well I kind of half agree that the Grand Slam, Triple Crown or Calcutta Cup or whatever still holds the most sway with what people want to win BUT on the basis the idea of an actual championship winner is relatively new why not adopt the HC system ?

  • 94.
  • At 08:40 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Stewart Mitchell wrote:

I think all that needs to be changed is the actual scoring of points with a Try worth 4pts, a Conversion 3pts, a Penalty (only kickable for goal from within the 22m line) 2pts, and a Drop Goal 1pt. This would properly reward positive skilful play as opposed to the current system which merely gives too much reward for negative play and ends up being a competition between the kickers.

  • 95.
  • At 08:54 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • dewingsofadub wrote:

The argument that a team could lose a game and still beat a grand slam winner is true but naive.

1st of all , in winning their games it is likely that in the knowledge that bonus points were available that they would also try to score these.Not only losers aim for bonus points , you know.

Secondly , there is no reason a special 4 point bonus or 10 or whatever mathematically necessary( my quick calculations suggest its 4 ) , could be applied for ... wait for it .... winning the Grand Slam..

Problem solved , I think so..

  • 96.
  • At 09:04 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Michael wrote:

Why do people on blogs make the same point over and over again, yes ur correct u could win a grand slam and not a championship if bonus points were included.
Simple solution is whoever wins 5 games gets and additionl 2 points at the end. Problem solved.
Will people stop moaning its a good idea, and will start making teams actually go for tries instead of penalties.

  • 97.
  • At 09:09 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • handy-legend wrote:

Let's face it- some sort opf system could be really good for the attractiveness of the game. Most of Scotland's games have been dull as ditchwater! A 5points bonus for the grand slam team would have to be in place though! The more attacking ,the better!

I don't know why some people are giving Ireland(who only just sneaked Scotland) so much hope at the RWC- they have France and Argentina in their group and if they are runners up in their group, they will face NZ in the quarters, bye bye green.

  • 98.
  • At 09:16 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • le boss wrote:

Surely if the bonus point rule comes in the concept of the Grand Slam changes to beating everyone and scoring 4 tries in each game in the process??

I haven't checked but I'm pretty sure that if you put the points system into operation on previous tournaments nobody would do a GS and not win....

  • 99.
  • At 09:25 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Michael wrote:

Stewert ur point dosnt make much sense, if you want 2 reward positive skillfull play why would you reduce the score for a try that dosnt make sense. You also have to be highly skilled to hit a drop goal and youve reduced that score to a mere 1 point.
Yes youve reduced a penalty by a point, the obvious thing to do is increse the score of a try.
Sorry Stewert did you take a bang in the head 2day.

  • 100.
  • At 09:37 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • X wrote:

Come on everybody! A big hand clap to France for keeping the championship exciting all the way to the end. Any of the top 3 can win. How crap France were against England (that doesn't take away a decent performance by England, but poor nevertheless by good rugby standards). I don't know what happened. Was it that Englang got their tactic right (attacking non-stop) or was it that France opened the bottles of Champagne a bit too early and were suffering from severe hangover? Poor Laporte, with all the good work he does! Anyway...

These are my predictions:

Ireland to trash Italy just because it will be St P's day and because they know they can win the whole thing if the margin is humiliating.

France beating Scotland with a better play than last week (it can only be better!)but having a hard time and losing the tournament thanks to the Irish demolition job in the early afternoon.

Wales to give a good game to England and lose despite scoring more tries.

France blew it more because of their on and off absenteism rather than English excellence. It would have been such a psychological bonus to take to the world cup, especially when Agentina are going to be their first opponents.

The points system should boost attacking play for the 80 mins of the game and reward try scoring. Both systems have weaknesses that surely are exploited by the various teams. Both have strenghts, so can't tell! Come on Italy, give a hard time to Ireland and shock the world!

  • 101.
  • At 09:56 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Michael Taylor wrote:

Realistically, it's between Ireland and Ireland. So, as an Englishman, it's got to be Ireland. When you consider the majestic Irish performance against the English at Croke Part, and the grace and hospitality afforded the visitors by their supporters, prior to the fierce stuffing subsequently handed out, divine justice demands it.

  • 102.
  • At 10:09 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

The main argument that I have seen for the change of the points system here is that it will make teams keep playing right to the final whistle... I dont reallly see how this applies, since nearly every game i've seen this year where one team were out of contention both teams have fought on right to the end, look at Scotlands losses this year as an example.

On the RWC final 8 qualification, I personally think that the teams who have to worry are:

Ireland + France - With Argentina in the group they could deny one of these two a place.

England - Samoa are definetly capable of defeating the other two teams and if England have a poor game against them they could find themselves heading home early.

Scotland - Though they have slipped up a bit in this championship I personally think they will have a stronger team come september, Italy however will be looking to make some more history this year so they could be problematic.

Wales just need to play the way they play and they should qualify comfortably.

  • 103.
  • At 10:13 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • BaggieJonathan wrote:

Bonus point system if the 6N is changed and the games are home and away.

Otherwise leave well alone.

Maybe, scrap the autumn internationals and play the first half of the 6 nations then. Play the return legs in spring. In both cases make it 5 consecutive weekends.

But, if using the current system and two teams tie for top would not the result between the teams be fairer than points difference as a tie breaker.

  • 104.
  • At 10:21 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Shmunkie wrote:

Why is everyone so negative about the kicking part of the game. The scoring system in rugby works perfectly well and already encourages players (rightly or wrongly) to go for the line - see Scotland v Italy and Wales v Italy

If we demonise kicking we will create a situation of far more penalties in a teams own half safe in the knowledge that they can effectively 'get away with it'. Players should be punished for killing the ball, offside at ruck etc. and 3 points is the best way to do that.

Also to any Englishmen who don't agree with the kicking game or its value, you clearly weren't watching rugby throughout the nineties - most for your games were won with the boot.

  • 105.
  • At 10:24 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • DennisL wrote:

Ireland will come out to a HOME crowd in Italy. There are a helluvalota Irish over there for the weekend.

Anyways I think that the real battle for Ireland is top be able to defend for long periods while the forwards struggle for dominance. Then they'll need to be patient with their scoring opportunities (while still trying to score a lot).

Scotland need to put in another great defensive display this weekend also. I don't think that they can win but I can hope.

England will probably win, but not by too much, and there is always a possibility of a Welsh revival.

As for bonus points::
I think it is a good idea. If one team wins a GS without gaining one single BP, and another can manage to get 4 tries every game and lose only once, by less than 7, then I know who deserves to win.

  • 106.
  • At 10:42 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Rimbo wrote:

Interesting Blog. Also interesting is that even on the subject of bonus points etc, certain people can't resist having a pop at England struggling, or England being forward dominated, or England relying on kicking as opposed to "running rugby". I'm not certain which match some people were watching on Sunday, but yes there were errors all over the place from both teams, but there was plenty of running rugby. Two great tries from England, plus if you actually bothered to add up the total tries scored in the Six Nations so far, it goes France (9), Ireland (9), England (8), Italy (7), Wales (5) and Scotland (4). Now looking at those stats, I'd hardly say that show that England don't score tries. The 101 points that England have scored have been made up of 8 tries and yes we kick our penalties. So lets stop this oh so boring England bashing on every single Blog. Ps no to the points system, leave it as it is. The Grand Slam is a very nice to have, but the championship is just as important. In my view, France to win, followed by Ireland, then England. But hey, what do I know, I'm just an arrogant Englishman.

  • 107.
  • At 10:53 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Mutt wrote:

Your all missing one very important fact.

The "Grandslam" does not exist. It is a status symbol, NOT a trophy.

The tournament is the important thing, a grandslam is just the cherry on top.

And lets face it, if you win all your games because Wilko, Mossy, ROG, etc have kicked all your points in all your games, but France or (some time soon) Italy win four games with bonus points and a bonus point loss or draw by actually *playing* rugby who deserves to win the tournament?

  • 108.
  • At 10:55 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • steve humphreys wrote:

I agree with the bonus points system and the absurdity of having a situation where one team can win the grand slam and another the championship. solution: 5 points for a win, 1 for 4 tries, and 1 for loosing by less than 7. That way a team winning the grand slam will score minimum 25 points. A team that wins 4 games each with a bonus point and loses one with a bonus point will also score 25 points. In the event of a tie the winner of the championship will be the winner of the match between the 2 tied sides.

  • 109.
  • At 11:07 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Chuck wrote:

Post 21:

"Looking forward, I find it hard to see Wales and Scotland qualifying for the last 8 of the World Cup in the Autumn... which will comprise New Zealand, Australia, Sout Africa, Argentina, England, France and Italy. I'd be interested to hear other people's thoughts on how they can turn things around."

You all seem to neglect Ireland from that list. and there are only 7 teams in that last 8... Who's going through from Wales/Australia group? Fiji, Canada or Japan? I don't think so somehow.

Argentina are good, nay, very good and we always seem to struggle against them. However, I think we are at a stage now where we can turn them over convincingly (although we should've done that vs Scotland, yes...!). Our group is tough with France and Argentina but I think at this moment in time we have enough to qualify for the KO stages.

Also, whilst bonus points may promote attacking rugby and exciting stuff I don't think it should be done for many obvious reasons as mentioned above. Can you imagine in a freak season a team doing the Grand Slam but not winning the championship? Ludicrous. (I mentioned this on Jim Stokes' blog, too...).

  • 110.
  • At 11:08 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • jim wrote:

If its spice you want, how much more exciting would it be if on Saturday Ireland won without a try, France won with 2 leaving England needing to score 4 to win the title.

Why don't we reverse the importance of points diference and tries scored.

From England's point of view we wouldn't have to rely so heavily on a goal kicker if everyone had to chase tries.

English head on now - I have not properly checked all match stats but am I right in saying that the disparity in points diference at the moment can be attributed to 1 game each.

Ireland v England (for both)
and France v Italy

Without those games I'm sure England would (heaven forbid) be shown as the most consistent performers.

Who says home advantage doesn't makje that much diference.

  • 111.
  • At 11:17 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Steve Crump wrote:

Predictions for Saturday:
Italy 15 - Ireland 26
France 25 - Scotland 12
Wales 21 - England 20

France to win championship, Wales to avoid wooden spoon (just)

  • 112.
  • At 11:18 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • marcus wrote:

bonus points you're joking?
it's not been this exciting a finish in a very long time....
that said bonus points work in the premiership.

  • 113.
  • At 11:24 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • brian wrote:

I've been thinking further about the law of unintended consequences and bonus points. I'm inclined to discount the "you could do a Grand Slam and not win the Championship" argument; it's mathematically possible but would require a lot of pretty improbable results back to back. I' m not saying it couldn't happen (and the law of sod would ensure that it would be a real possibility the first year the experiment was tried.....)

The argument that it's unfair because of the lopsided nature of the fixture list is a stronger one and not easily remedied. Both possible options of going up to seven nations (whoever the seventh might be- I agree Argentina have been scandalously marginalised over the years but the thought of them playing in a northern hemisphere competition is a bit odd and basing them in Spain would, I suspect, prove problematic in practical terms) or playing the championship home and away would serve as the last staw that would break the back of the European fixtures structure. In any event I'm not sure that being at home necessarily makes that much impact on the margin of victory or number of tries scored by the winning side.

I can imagine situations in which a bounus point structure might make sides more conservative late in a game- if you've cashed in your four tries but are only six points to the good you might opt to go for the posts to deny opponents a bonus point and conversely a side losing by, say eight points might well be tempted to kick a penalty in the last three or four minutes to "bank" a bonus point and gamble on doing something from the restart rather than going for the try as they'd tend to do now.

There could also be more scope for allegations of collusion to do down a third party. Let's take this weekend's fixtures as an example (I'm assuming there's still have to be some sort of tie breaker for situations where sides finished level on points- whether points difference or number of tries scored). Suppose Ireland scrape past Italy by half a dozen points in a low scoring game and only manage two tries. Scotland then go down by a large margin, with three of the five French tries coming in the last ten minutes as the Scots run out of steam. England and Wales fight out a thrilling game which the visitors sneak by five points but Wales score four tries to three, the last Welsh try coming deep in injury time after a howling defensive error.

By my calculations that would leave France as champions on points difference/tries scored and Scotland with the Wooden Spoon. How long before there would be cries from Dublin that the Scots had given up and let France score late tries in revenge for O'Sullivan's comments after the Scotland-Ireland match- and mutterings in Edinburgh that England had allowed Wales their late score to ensure the Jocks got the Wooden Spoon? I can certainly imagine the ill tempered and chauvinistic blog comments from all points of the compass this sort of outcome could provoke.

This isn't necessarily an argument against the bonus point system (the strongest one is in my mind the fact that it wouldn't actually have made any difference to how any of the recent championships would have panned out)but it does underline the possibility of serious unintended consequences from tinkering with the points system.

  • 114.
  • At 11:32 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Kassra wrote:

I find it funny to hear some irish on this blog calling for bonus points because it would encourage teams to play for the entire 80 minutes......and yet what happened in the ireland-france game?!?! you still need to play for the full 80 minutes under the current rules.

again, some people arguing that it gives an advantage to the teams playing 3 times at home....but surely just the fact that they are playing 3 times at home gives them an unfair advantage over other teams anyway? and making the competition a home and away competition would just make it too long.

and someone else advocated a grand final between top two teams of 6 nations. but surely again you could win the grand slam and lose the title? teams have won the premier league by a country mile and then lost the grand final, which i think is ridiculous for a league. the team that finishes top of the league should be the league winners. end of story. no money spinning grand final at twickenham!

  • 115.
  • At 11:43 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • edd wrote:

Everyone says we need bonus points system for more positivity and less goal kicking, but with the idea of winning a grand slam but not the championship is ridiculous, so the only idea i would recomend for changing would be making penalties worth less, either 1 or 2 points, and if this were to happen well god help scotland and england who seem to have completly forgotten about running rugby, u know? scoring tries and that!remember them scotland? no? ah well...

  • 116.
  • At 11:47 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • corkonian wrote:

michael taylor- very gracious comments afforded by you towards the irish. makes a big change after reading some of the rubbish written by the scots! englandprovided some of the best entertainment in the whole 6 nations last week! fabulous geraghty, floody and strettle. so jealous of england!

  • 117.
  • At 11:49 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

I don't think change the points system will have any real effect on where teams finish or how they play.
Winning the game is what matters and points difference does it's job as it is. Maybe you could separate teams equal on points just by tries scored and then by points difference.

It's working. We have had some great games. Feel a bit aggrieved at the criticise of Scotland being boring - we're trying damn it. We're trying to compete and have been convincing against Wales and nearly beat a very good Irish team.
Rugby isn't always about the tries - I seem to remember England powered their way to many a championship in the early 90's with fairly dull rugby. Frustrated the hell out of me - but that's rugby.

Ireland for the championship - thanks to a Scottish victory! C'mon ye Scottie!!!!

  • 118.
  • At 11:50 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • lod wrote:

Why not a two tally points system - with points kept as normal in one points tally - and bonus points kept in a different tally. The tally consisting of bonus points would then be used only to differentiate between two teams finishing on the same points.
In this way it is impossible for a team to win the grand slam and not win the championship, whilst maintaining the incentives presented by the bonus points system.
Think that bonus points are a fairer way of deciding a drawn tournament than point difference.

  • 119.
  • At 12:05 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Chuck wrote:


"Also to any Englishmen who don't agree with the kicking game or its value, you clearly weren't watching rugby throughout the nineties - most for your games were won with the boot."

Very good point! In RWC 2003 England scored 36 tries to Australia's 43 and NZ's 52. 17 of those came against Uruguay and 12 against Georgia whilst they only scored 2 in the KO stages. OK, Australia had massive wins also against Romania (13 tries) and Namibia (22!) but still, your point stands - Ireland and Wales got more tries in the KO stages than England.

  • 120.
  • At 12:12 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • DDog wrote:

France are in box seat as they will know what they have to do to win 6Ns, Ireland to finish second (beating Italy) and England to beat Wales to finish third.

My suggestion is that if you want to encourage fast, flowing rugby why not just issue a bouns point for scoring 4 or more tries in a game, this would negate the problem observed in several responders messages regarding a team winning 6Ns even if losing one game by amassing 21 points (4 wins plus bonus points for tries scored AND losing by less than 7 points) to an unbeaten team amassing 20 points from just 5 wins (no bonus points)- where single bunus points are issued per game then this would not be an issue as it would get down to both teams having 20 points and the unbeated team would win the 6Ns by virtue of having beaten the other team.

I personnally would rather see a low-scoring COMPETATIVE game than a one-sided score-fest so I think leave it as it is.

  • 121.
  • At 12:38 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Tim wrote:

I would also like to see a bonus point system. I would also like to see each team play three home games and three away games. This would be done with England playing Scotland home and away, Ireland playing Wales home and away and France playing Italy home and away. The Calcutta match would then become a two legged affair as would the Italian France trouphy and there could be a Celtic Cup for the Welsh and Irish to compete for.

  • 122.
  • At 12:51 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • John Cheetham wrote:

I rather fear for Wales on Saturday. Watching the reaction of the entire England team after the France match, the joy and relief of having engineered a victory with some style was absolutely apparent. They clearly will want to press on for more of the same. If the Welsh are'nt fully up for it, there could be a hatful of points on for England

  • 123.
  • At 12:54 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • andyb wrote:

I cant think of any reason to play your best for the full 80mins other than playing for your country!

The 6 nations is supposed to be a tight competition. Bonus points are not needed - and neither are home and away fixtures. It's all well and good in the tri-nations > but there only 3 of them.

  • 124.
  • At 12:56 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • SouthseaBoy wrote:

I dont agree with the bonus point system. Teams shouldnt be awarded for losing. Also people have argued that it will encourage more tries, but if a team has a penalty and can get within the 7 points of the other team they may opt to kick it and take the bonus point rather than go for the try and the win.
Also it is unfair whilst there are only six teams because of the imbalance of home and away fixtures.

As a viewer I love to see running rugby and more tries, but the sport isnt just there for our entertainment its about finding out who the better team is on the day.

I think it makes an interesting contrast that some teams play more open rugby than others.

  • 125.
  • At 01:19 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Terry wrote:

Eoin (Comment 53)

Good analysis and interesting reading but... you need to get out more, lad!!

  • 126.
  • At 01:20 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Jim wrote:

Something that I don't think has been mentioned (there were a lot of comments and I didn't get through all of them) is the possibility of the championship changing hands over something fairly innocuous. Say Ireland win by 20 points giving them +58. In the last minute of the next game, France are up by 17 points, giving them the title by a point. Scotland get a kickable penalty. Ordinarily they'd kick for the corner to get a last ditch consolation try, but they could slot the three points and give the title to Ireland. As much as I'm looking forward to back-to-back-to-back games, this shouldn't be allowed and I can see it happening.

  • 127.
  • At 01:44 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • gareth wrote:

hmm i reckon that charvis should definitely be back in the starting 15, every time he plays he seems to end up getting the man of the match. as for the championship, everything, every teams success, all depends on which french team turn up on saturday

  • 128.
  • At 01:47 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Kevin Flack wrote:

I do not agree with bonus points at least in their current format. Look at the current GP - Gloucester have won the most games but are 4 points behind Leicester 'cos of bonus points. Don't forget the farce of a few seasons ago where Gloucester creamed the GP by at least 10 points but lost in the play off final. Less points for penalties would encourage more attacking / try scoring play. I have to go for England against Wales and presume that the French & Irish will pevail with I hate to say it the Irish most likely to squeeze the title on points difference.

  • 129.
  • At 01:57 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • simon wrote:

I find it absolutely absurd that there is no bonus point system in the 6 Nations!!!

How can there possibly be any negatives against rewarding a team for scoring 5 tries and rewarding teams for losing narrowly?????

It makes perfect sense and you traditionalists who disagree are living in the 20th century!

  • 130.
  • At 02:25 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • corkonian wrote:

rimbo- have to admit that i'm getting pretty tired of the england bashing too and i'm irish! i think england are ireland's strongest competitors despite what happened at croke park. we saw against france what a few changes can do to a team and how a loss can fire up the english team. they have the players to beat anyone and they just need to get into the habit of winning again. also the fans deserve praise too. they are very gracious decent people, no booing at opposition teams(unlike others i could mention), and whenever i've been at twickenham, i and other irish fans have always been treated with great courtesy. plus going out on the piss with the englsih is always guaranteed a good night. now to the weekend. i hope ireland do enough to win the championship. they should hopfully get a few tries but italy will be difficult. england to beat wales but not by much, reckon score will be similar to the french game and scotland will more than likely lose to france.

Yes it's St Patricks day but logically that means nothing. On paper the Irish should beat the Italians by 20 points and the French the same over the Scots and England and Wales should be tight. Logically England can forget it. Ireland can hope for it and France can expect it.
However it's time for the Irish to demonstrate their favourites tag was worthwhile, that Scots men can really play rugby, that the Welsh have pride. Given all of that I reckon with my heart Ireland will win the championship by 10 points. My head however says its as it is at the moment. Just g string as oppose to boxers, ( tighter).

  • 132.
  • At 02:26 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Phil wrote:

Totally agree that the bonus point should be introduced. It encourages teams to score tries and punishes teams that rely on kicking penalties the entire time. Scotland spring to mind.

  • 133.
  • At 02:53 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

I like the bonus point system but have always thought that the 7 point margin point should be up for grabs. I.E. if a team wins by more than 7 they should get the point.
If you want more attacking rugby why not ban kicking for goal outside 40m. It's no reward for pressure or territory, takes 1-2 minutes out of the game each time, and adds nothing to my enjoyment of the game.

  • 134.
  • At 03:23 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Shorty wrote:

With regard to the posting by Greg no 13 @ 3.41pm.

If a team commits 7 penalties surely they should be punished....

  • 135.
  • At 04:17 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • jeremy hobart wrote:

i agree with a bonus points system - anything that makes wales look even worse than they are, which this does (ie 14 times worse than paddies, and 5 times worse than the jocks) gets my vote...and probably plenty of others.

  • 136.
  • At 05:46 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • dan wrote:

There is a minute chance for Italy to win it......
To dream is beautiful i hope it doesn't turn into a nightmare....

  • 137.
  • At 06:41 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Kia Rose wrote:

Re 131 Yes it's St Patricks Day but logically that means nothing. Oh really?

Who can ever forget when Arkle won his third Gold Cup at Cheltenham, coming past the stands first time round he clattered a fence really hard - he should have fallen, but was it St Patrick that kept him on his feet? Who knows, but at the time there were many who believed it!!!!

So don't dismiss the St Patrick's Day effect on any Irish representatives.

Now who is it that Ireland are playing that day in the Cricket World Cup? St Paddy really is going to have to work hard isn't he, a quick flit from Rome to Jamaica.

  • 138.
  • At 06:58 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Clem McCartney wrote:

I feel their are flaws in the arguments that the bonus system would be unfair because a team could win the grand slam but lose the title. If a team plays tremendously well in four matches and just loses in the fifth then they are more deserving than a team that just scrapes through in all the matches. In any case the four points for a win would make it more difficult to wiin the title on bonus points.

  • 139.
  • At 08:54 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • collie21 wrote:

Kia Rose you have smoking too much shamrock. As for the Cricket World cup all those Australians do not an Irish team make. Jesus I have never even seen a cricket bat in real life. Whatever about Rugby, Cricket is not a game for the Irish. Unfortunately the drivel you wrote is why so many Intelligent Irish people are stereotyped as being thick. You better tell your St Paddy to watch out he can't bring holy water on the plane. It might be deemed as an explosive substance. Arkle was a horse with probably less sense of what day it was, than the English Rugby team after their match in Croker. The points system is fine as it stands. You all bang on about it being a mans game and now you want points for turning up on the day. For gods sake. Roll on Sunday and a Green Championship.

  • 140.
  • At 10:00 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Phil Mckenzie wrote:

I dont think the bonus point system can be introduced for the 6 nations due to lack of fixtures. Although an unlikely situation a team could win the grand slam but not the tournament if they won all 5 without a bonus point (20 points) and the team in second won 4 all with bonus points and lost 1 with a bonus point (21 points). It would be carnage!

  • 141.
  • At 10:05 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Phil Mckenzie wrote:

I dont think the bonus point system can be introduced for the 6 nations due to lack of fixtures. Although an unlikely situation a team could win the grand slam but not the tournament if they won all 5 without a bonus point (20 points) and the team in second won 4 all with bonus points and lost 1 with a bonus point (21 points). It would be carnage!

  • 142.
  • At 03:29 AM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • Gator wrote:

I live in SA and I would like to share my tuppence over the idea of the Pumas joining either the Tri-nations or Six Nations.

Geographically it would make sense for them to be part of the Tri-Nations, even though it would probably take them longer to fly from BA to NZ than it would to Paris.

Logically it makes more sense for them to play in the 6N. The majority of the Pumas play in Europe, they are at their peak during the northern season. Also, the Argentine newspapers have reported that a town in Belgium has offered itself as a "home base."

Personally, I think they would be a fine addition to the 6N's and would be as competitive as any of teh current teams.

  • 143.
  • At 06:06 AM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • Daniel King wrote:

Bonus points are a good idea. Super14 is slightly more interesting because of it, some people call it basketball rugby but it does encourage less kicking and more passing particularly when it's coming to the end of the game and things are tight.

As for 6N champs, alas i think it'll go to our French chums, they'll flog the Scots in Paris by a margin.

  • 144.
  • At 07:21 AM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • Neil Ferguson wrote:

The idea of bonus points in a "league" with so few games as the Six Nations is absurd. Perhaps it has been lost, both on those who have posted agreement here and on Mr Harlow himself but, mathematically at least, bonus points in the 6 Nations creates a position where we could have a grandslam winner that doesn't win the championship. The bonus point structure, at least in its current form, simply cannot work in a competition with so few games as the 6 Nations.

  • 145.
  • At 08:04 AM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • Philbert wrote:

I think it's fantastic, coming into the final round of 6N matches, that Italy have a chance, albeit an outstandingly remote chance at winning the championship! Well done the Azzuri!! It just shows how far they have come as a rugby playing nation by being given the opportunity to compete with some of the worlds top nations on an annual basis!! Do you think the southern hemisphere 3-way tournament could learn something from us northern bumkins??

I too disagree with introducing the bonus point system. I don't like the idea of a country winning the grand-slam and not winning the championship. I think there are enough national rivalries out there to keep the competitive juices flowing right to the end of every match.

Leave it as it is, give the "Old Farts" the opertunity and they will require a playoff for the top spot next..... Then we can split it in to 2 leauges with relegation and promotion... It works fine now.

  • 147.
  • At 09:14 AM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • steve humphreys wrote:

with regards to Gator's posting (142) about the Argentina playing in either 6N or tri-N I would suggest a consideration should be given to the wider issue, what is the purpose of offering the Pumas regular international competition anywhere. In my view it should not be about what benefits the existing countries playing in these competitions but what benefits the Pumas. Top class competion in their own country must be the aim. They should have 2 super14 franchises (making it super16)to draw all of their world class players back to Argentina and play in an expanded 4N. this would have the bonus of not only rewarding the top Argentinian players but also allowing the opportunity to grow the game at grass roots level.

For those still talking about the absurdity of having one team winning the grand slam but not the championship please read posting 108. You lot are just like my misses - never listen!

  • 148.
  • At 09:53 AM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • emerald star wrote:

if cricket is not a game for the irish why do we have a team at the world cup? also there are 2 irish men playing for england! collie- i see your point about kia rose but your comments themselves are wuite offensive. shamrock smoking-thick paddies? watch your comments. i know you werent calling us thick yourself but i dont think anyone in the world has that "thick paddy" stereotype any more. anyway back to rugby for gods sake.

  • 149.
  • At 10:43 AM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • Rimbo wrote:

I’ve got a cunning plan. If we’re going to include Argentina in the 6 Nations then surely Georgia is just as close, so we should include them as well, making it the 8 Nations. The number eight, in Greek mythology was always seen as a very unlucky number, so we should bring in Romania to make it the 9 Nations. Problem is, that would be un-even, so we really should bring in Fiji to even things up. Problem is, if we bring in Fiji then Samoa will cop a strop, so we need to include them and now we’re back to an un-even 11 Nations. By bringing in the Canadians we get to a nice even 12 Nations, but you can’t have the Canadians without bringing in the Americans, else our well documented “special relationship” might be put at risk. Now we’re sitting with a very worrying 13 Nations. Can’t stick on 13, so in come the South Africans having us finishing up on a perfect 14. Hmm hang on that’s no good, as we’ve now pinched the Springboks from the Tri-Nations, so we’d better bring both the Kiwi’s and the Aussies across, leaving us with a nice even 16 Nations. If the Kiwi’s are in, the Tonga has to be in, as it’s virtually the same playing base, so that brings us to the 17 Nations. Still uneven and I forgot that the whole point of the exercise is to help the developing rugby nations, so we must include both Japan and Namibia into the fold. So that’s it. “19 Nations” here we come.………only thing is the name 19 Nations isn’t really that catchy, so how about changing the name to something like “The Cup of Rugby World Nations”. No, still not very catchy. Got it, how about “Rugby World Cup”?

  • 150.
  • At 11:20 AM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • Chuck wrote:

yeah but if you get 5 points for a win and then a bonus point for 4 tries, wont the 5 points just kind of do away with the need to have bonus points?

The six nations shouldn't change the points system at all. There's all this talk about how exciting this ending is, 4 teams could win it mathematically, great for northern hemisphere and then people say they want to change the system?!


  • 151.
  • At 11:45 AM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • Luke Swan wrote:

I doubt England will win. Really it depends on others results. I'd be pleased with a good win over wales to set us on the road to the world cup. But who knows Scotland went down by only a point last week and the Italy are having there best 6 nations so far so who knows

Emerald Star, to get off the point for a moment and reply to you. I live abroad from Ireland but I see that stereotype all the time. I left Ireland 3 years ago. Why indeed do we have a cricket team at the World Cup? And what sense does it make to have a team there and 2 Irish guys playing for someone else. I am quite secure in my identity not to need a name like Emerald to prove my Irishness. As for the shamrock smoking I was referring to weed but you missed the pun. As for your use of the term Paddies it's one I find offensive, please refrain. ( so what exactly does wuite offensive mean?) IF you read Kia Roses comments you can find the context in which I made my remarks. Some fictional character is going to hand the Irish a win because it's their national day? Yes sounds logical to me... it's got nothing to do with National stereotypes, but if you think the stereotype of stupid Irish people doesn't exist, google 'Irish Inventions' and see what you find. Or at least travel abroad a bit and broaden your hornizons. More to the point read through any of these blogs you will find plenty of references. For the most part the Rugby crowd have managed to by pass the national stereotype for which I am grateful. But so far this Tournament its only the Irish the Choked ( scuse the pun no reference to O gara incident itended) but we aren't the only team that lost. Now if you think it's far that the stereotype perpetuated by kia roses comments is one of intelligent talented Irish people winning a championship through skill, I accept your points. but for crying outloud have a bit of pride and self respect instead of standing up for this semi Romantic trash. That type of Ireland is Dead and Gone and should stay with O'Leary.

  • 153.
  • At 02:35 PM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • emerald star wrote:

collie. easy there. my name is nothing to do with a romantacised version of ireland that yes, i agree with you, doesnt exist. will you calm down and stop being so defensive! i did not agree with kia rose and in any case she was probably if anyone would actully say that ireland should win because it's our national day as a serious comment! relax with you! my screen name is nothing to do with ireland , just happen to like emeralds! cant believe i have to justify my choice of name to you. and i dont happen to like stereotyping , what is the problem with that? seriosly man, what is wrong. there's also nothing wrong with appreciating your country either.

  • 154.
  • At 03:29 PM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • Chuck wrote:

Well this thread has clearly veered off track...!

In response to the "Irish" cricket team, I am all for it personally and do not begrudge Ed Joyce playing for England. He is a top class sportsman that deserves his chance at the top and will be cheering him on. He knows he's Irish through and through - last year when Ireland were playing England in the six nations he was watching the game in the carribean with the England A squad and cheered like a madman when Horgan scored that last minute try!

With regards the Irish cricket team themselves - yes they have some plastics there but who hasn't? Kevin Pietersen/Allan Lamb/Robin Smith are world class players who played for England but born Zaffers... If these non irish can promote the game for those in Ireland then surely that will influence irish kids to take up the sport and the future will be laid... We all need that little helping hand so take a leaf out of your own book and "broaden your hornizons" or as I like to say broaden your horizons.

  • 155.
  • At 03:32 PM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • Gator wrote:


I think you are being a tad disinenguous (sp?). I think we would all like to see Rugby continiue to grow and develop as a world game. that being said, and it is evident at every RWC, there are different levels on the international stage.

Argentina are clearly at a level to compete with the teams of the 6N's..or at least they were last Autumn...or have England's fans conveniently forgotten that?

Argentina are at a level where the opportunity to compete regularly against teams of a similar or higher level is the only way they can hope to continue to improve their game.

That being said, there are other teams that I believe deserve a similar opportunity, such as Samoa, tonga and Fiji...all of whom perform consistently in 7's.

However, it also seems that the traditional rugby nations, those of the the 6N's andthe 3N's are happy to sign their players, but reluctant to give others the cahnce to close the gap.

  • 156.
  • At 04:19 PM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • Chuck wrote:

Isn't Dean Ryan out in the US at the moment and trying to get plans for a Tri Nations involving Canada, US and Argentina? Yes it would be difficult to implement given that Argentina would win convincingly and most of their players are based in Europe but the sooner it starts the better. Uruguay can play in there too?

Maybe they would be better suited playing in the 6nations given most of their players play in Europe etc but 7 is too many IMHO. There's enough complaints as it is regarding fixture congestion.

Is there a pacific island tournament of similar vein? Fiji, Tonga, Samoa? Stick Japan in there and you've got a cracking little tournament. Forgive my ignorance if there is.

I also remember reading a while back about the second tier six nations, is that still going strong?

Get one going for the african teams too - Namibia, Morocco, Tunisia etc.

The more the IRB fund these tournaments, the stronger the competition will get. Yes, you will still get the usual 8 in the KO stages but I don't think it'll be long before a Pacific Island team makes the KO stages - not sure about this year, maybe '11? Fiji were mighty close last time round to beating Scotland.

But Argentina are a top 10 team, have been for a long time, and as such need some sort of regular competition to build on this... broken record, i know blah blah but im bored and wanted to say something

  • 157.
  • At 04:58 PM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • bigdansawsa wrote:

im not really bothered where the championship ends up. ireland have already won the triple crown but failed to win the grandslam and they are the only things that matter, even if ireland finish with a better points difference than france, i reckon france should be given the title as they beat ireland. if it ends in a 3 way tie at the top as the top 3 have all beaten each other i think the title should be shared. i know it would make the last day less exciting but i dont think points difference or tries scored are important all that matters is getting the win on the day. 4 wins each should mean a 3 way tie

  • 158.
  • At 11:35 PM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • Daniele wrote:

This article
says that "Ireland will be the first of the title contenders in action as they face Italy in the RBS Six Nations on Saturday".

I only wanted to point out that Italy is a title contender as well. In particular, Italy will be the first of the title contenders in action as they face Ireland in the RBS Six Nations on Saturday.

Ok, maybe you wouldn't have wound up as a journalist if you had been good at maths, ok, but c'mon, this time it was not that difficult.

  • 159.
  • At 11:38 PM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • michael o'neill wrote:

we are almost mid way through the super 14's down under could you please tell me why australia-new zealand are not playing the tri nations tournament at this time.Again today on guiness rugby we had dewi etc telling us what a massive game wasp london irish will be how important it is and what are we doing but playing six nations rugby how can we hope to compete with down under with this mentality
also why don't commentators recognise this when leicester reserves don't play as good as the first team

  • 160.
  • At 05:30 AM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • Aido wrote:

Agree with the article and the general thread of comments.

I just thought I should point out that the worry that the unlikely scenario in which a Grand Slam team would be beaten by a team with less victories but more bonus points could easily be avoided by awarding 5 bonus points (one for every match) for achieving the Grand Slam.

Problem solved

  • 161.
  • At 06:51 AM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • calvdog wrote:

I think that the points idea is a great one to liven up a league that is becopme staid or boring or with the same winners year in year out. Surely that does not the 6 nations? It is great as it is. There have only been two big defeats. I also feel that extra bonus points may end with more cricket scores which are very dull to watch.

  • 162.
  • At 09:07 AM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • R S K wrote:

Good discussion,

I believe that bonus points, given the structure of European Rugby, work fine at club all comes down to money and something to play for...esp for the fans.

At National level, I believe the existing system, is the only one that differentiate winners and losers. In all seriousness, you cannot reward losing at this, the highest level.

Interested in the 6 points for a try idea, this would attract a more positve element to the game, for 80mins.

#21. I can't seriously believe that you meant to exclude Irealnd from your last prediction RWC2007. Of the "Home" Nations, Ireland are more likely to be there than any other, get REAL.

Looking forward to drowning my Shamrock in the "black stuff" this weekend, France will choke, Scotland will "send them homeward", and England....nah!!

  • 163.
  • At 10:57 AM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • dan wrote:

For what concerne the point sistem my humble opinion is: if it is not broken don't fix it. It could be argued that the top tier teams are feeling the heat from the bottom three.... It is an awesome tournament as it is full stop, thinkering with this sort of stuff is not needed. What is going to be next?

  • 164.
  • At 02:31 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • Ian Bevan wrote:

I think bonus points would not work in the Six Nations. Teams compete for the Grand Slam and not necessarily the title. Theres not much point if you dont beat everyone

Chuck, thanks for the typo heads up, must have something else on my mind, Emerald I am quite relaxed don't worry, and sorry if it came across strong, but I am still trying to figure out my 'offense' no worries. To get back to the rugger, I still reckon the points system should stay as it is, but perhaps a change could be made when two teams are level to look at the record between to two teams. If you are going to change the points system, expand the tournament to a home and away each year. So we have 10 matches instead of 5.

  • 166.
  • At 02:37 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • Migs wrote:

The bonus points thing will never work, you could do a grandslam and still end up runners up in the championship!

Because....Team A could get 4 points from each game getting them 20 points overall and Team B could win 4 games with a bonus point in each game and lose to Team A by less than 7 points and end up with 21 points.

  • 167.
  • At 02:48 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • Stewart Mitchell wrote:

For anyone interested in my reasoning (see entry of 14/3) a converted try would still be worth 7pts. And, as scoring a try under the posts is generally considered to be harder than on the flanks, but being more easily converted, it should make for more entertaining rugby. Drop goals are fine but only reflect control of the middle of the pitch and penalties have frequently been kicked from inside teams' own halves! How entertaining is that?

  • 168.
  • At 02:57 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • David C wrote:

The bonus point system is a good idea and has worked well in the English Premiership. However in that competition you get 4 points for a win rather than 2 so the bonus point is not as significant. I think that the 6 nations would need to move to 4 points for a win and 2 for a draw if the bonus point system (1 point for marginal loss, 1 point for 4 tries or more) were to be adopted.
As for the championship my heart tells me that England could run in a big score in Cardiff but my head says that even if they do the trophy will be going to France.

  • 169.
  • At 03:12 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • Terry wrote:

I wouldn't change the system at all. I think it makes for a very exciting tournament. As an England fan, whilst I would always want England to win the 6N the real prize in the competition is the Grand Slam. For me, in preference order, the preferred outcome is;

1. Grand Slam
2. Winning the Championship (no GS)
3. Triple Crown
4. No championship, but beating Wales by a BIG margin.

I know this will bring cries of "arrogant Englishman" from the guys across Offah's Dyke which will be rich coming from fans who are currently trying in vain to suggest that things won't be so bad if they can only manage to beat England. But what the hell, it's Friday afternoon...

  • 170.
  • At 03:21 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

You can't reduce the amount of points for a penalty, or indeed increase the amount of points awarded for a try. This would encourage teams to kill the ball more than they do now, knowing that they were saving potentially 5 points. What we need is strong referees that apply the law, sin bin the player that prevents a try scoring opportunity. If the ref did this with the first occurrence, I'm sure that we would see a more free flowing game, and then perhaps England and Scotland could then score more tries, as the oppostion wouldn't be killing the ball

  • 171.
  • At 03:26 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • Michael R wrote:

No comment other than this is a really good blog to read on a Friday afternoon. Whatever happens it should be a good day of rugby tomorrow.

  • 172.
  • At 03:33 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • Geoffrey Roberts wrote:

I don't think any team has every won four matches with a minimum of four tries in each of those matches, and then lost the other match by less than 7 points; whilst another side has won all 5 matches and always scored three or fewer tries.

The odds are extremely long... and if it did happen, the side with 21 points would deserve to win the Six Nations (esp if they lost to the 20 pt team away).

Why not a bonus point for winning away from home?

  • 173.
  • At 03:37 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • KP wrote:

I don't think the bonus point idea is necessary. This year's championship shows you need to go for maximum points every game. It is v. unlikely teams will finish level in the table and with same points difference. If that happens separation should be on total points scored. The chances of a tie after this are minute, but if it happens the teams involved deserve to share the title! Also, I think brilliant defense is as worthy as brilliant try scoring. Grinding out a 10-9 win with a backs to the wall last 10 minutes is as exciting/heart stopping as running in an extra 3 tries.

  • 174.
  • At 03:43 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • Chuck wrote:

haha, you're welcome Collie - I'm just a pedantic fool!! Sorry..... I'm sure i've made plenty of mistakes myself!

Did you enjoy the cricket last night :P?

On your subject about results between the two teams if tied. Good in principle but without meaning to rain on your parade, this year would surely be even more confusing? France, Ireland and England all on 6 points at the mo', potentially 8... France beat Ireland so come ahead of Ireland. Ireland beat England so come ahead of England. England beat France so come ahead of France! Nightmare!

Lets leave it as it is!

  • 175.
  • At 03:46 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • John wrote:

As someone mentioned earlier (though with incorrect maths) theoretically a grand slam winner might not finish top, but this could be easily solved with the correct number of bonus points for a grand slam. For example. Under the system above, the minimum a grandslam winner can get is 20 points (5 wins x 4)
The maximum the next team can get is 22 (4 wins x 4 and 5 x 1 for scoring 4 tries, and 1 for losing the game against the grand slam winner by less than 7)
So the easiest solution is to award a grand slam winner 3 points. Then there would never be a problem.

  • 176.
  • At 03:46 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • Callum wrote:

The bonus point system would not work, because we could have a team completing the grand slam but still not being champions, which would make a mockery of the championship.

  • 177.
  • At 03:53 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • Bernie wrote:

I know the idea of changing the points system is to encourage competition which I understand, but the other claim is that it encourages teams to go for it, but really the rule as about losing by as little as possible. Is there not a chance that it might encourage less-fancied teams to favour a defensive stifling tactics? After all, you could then get a point for losing 10-6. I know some low scoring games are intense and exciting, but I think most of us prefer games where teams try to attack and score tries. Surely a bonus point for scoring x amount of tries would be preferable. Or leave it as it is, there's only 6 teams in it and the 6 Nations rarely lacks for excitement.

  • 178.
  • At 03:54 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • David D wrote:

Not a huge fan of the bonus point system for the reason stated by a number of people that it could happen that a team wins a Grand Slam and loses the championship. Some say it's unlikely - but it's actually entirely probable that would happen!

However, that could be quite easily dealt with by some sort of Grand Slam winning bonus which would ensure that they won the tournament.

Another problem though is just that generally, Team A could win more games than Team B and still finish behind them. Is that fair?

How different teams play against each other, because of their style, tactics and so on can yield wildly different results: Take this year for example: England beat Scotland by around 30 points; Ireland beat England by exactly 30 points; and then Ireland only manage to beat Scotland by 1 point!

Doesn't exactly reflect the difference between the sides...

But there is, of course, a reason - the old home's massively important.

Would England have beaten France in Paris last week? Probably not.

Would Ireland have beaten England by 30 points at Twickenham? Probably not.

Would Scotland have nearly beaten Ireland at Croke Park? Probably not.

But the number of home games each team has every year varies: This year, for example, England have had 3, but Ireland only had 2...and you'd generally expect to score more tries/points and concede less in home games than in away the whole tournament would be massively distorted by the Home/Away element. It already is of course...but it'd be eeven more critical with the bonus system.

I don't think it's any co-incidence, for example, that England's three Grand Slam misses before 2003 had something to do with the fact that the last game each time was away!

Is there a fair way around that without massively overcomplicating things?

I doubt it.

I'd leave things as they are.

  • 179.
  • At 03:59 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • John wrote:

A shame the description of what each team needs to do to win is wrong.

Not in a big way; but France does NOT know what it needs to achiweve against Scotland as England come last and might (I say might, I hope not) win by a barrel load.


Then adding to the discusion about points system: someone argued in favour of the "new" points system stating it was used in the Tri-Nations; but of course, with only 3 teams there is different arithmetic needed - tournaments with small numbers of teams need to be carefully planned to avoid "silly" results.
What would a sponsor say if the silly situation manifested itself?


I'd send players that repeatedly foul off (no sin bin), reduce the points awarded for penalty kicks and encourage tries.
Full marks to the Welsh for keeping the Italy game live, I'm sorry for them, but delighted for Italy ... and it did save Scotlands face a little.

  • 180.
  • At 04:04 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • emerald star wrote:

collie- no wriires. read your original blog wrongly! apologies.

  • 181.
  • At 04:11 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • Steven Noodlum wrote:

The point about a team winnning the grand slam but not the actual competition due to the addition of bonus points is stupid! That is the case in every single competition were the bonus point has been introduced.
That is the whole idea!
A team shouldn't deserve to win the competition if there is another better team out there that narrowly loses due to a "drop goal" when they have consistently out preformed the other team on evey occasion

  • 182.
  • At 04:15 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • emerald star wrote:

no to bonus points system! you're either good enough to get the win or not. no ways about it!

  • 183.
  • At 04:23 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • Sue Gay wrote:

Leave the points system as it is as there's no home and away games and you can't have a grand slam winner who is not the overall winner. But, put the try up to at least 6 points.
Wales have a good chance to win on Sat with the new line up, so my money is on Ireland.
The Celts rule OK

  • 184.
  • At 04:40 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • Matt S wrote:

I'm not in favour of the bonus point system. The system is fine as it is and I don't think bonus points are required to make the 6 Nations anymore exciting or commercially attractive.

However if bonus points were to be introduced then I would agree with previous comments about it being completely wrong for Grand Slam champions to be pipped to the 6 Nations title by a team with more bonus points. Therefore should a team complete a Grand Slam they should be awarded 3 bonus points. This would ensure that they also claimed top spot in the 6 Nations.

  • 185.
  • At 04:42 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • WhatWasThat wrote:

A bonus point system? Not only does that mean a Grand Slam winning side may not win the Championship (think about how wierd that is you freaks advocating this idea), but you're also talking about giving points to a team that lost! What for? They lost! Whats wrong with the current system for heavens sake!
It's a fact in ALL sports that sometimes you'll get boring games, it has been like this for yonks and changing the points system won't change that.

You want expansive, running, attacking rugby all the time, then watch the Seven's tournaments around the world, or even go to the Middlesex 7's at Twickenham.

Any sport fan will admit that every opposing team has to be approached differently if you want to win. There is no point asking little Jason Robinson or Dwayne Peel to try and run through the New Zealand back line in an effort to score a try and get the bonus point when a drop goal or penalty kick will win the game but not get them the bonus point. Why must you crazy people make things so complicated that are in essence so simple - you win you get points you lose you don't get points.

Ridiculous, confusing and profoundly stupid suggestion to go on the shelf along side the idea of making the goals in football wider to make the game higher scoring.

If you're still in any doubt just ask yourself this - if your team, be that England, Ireland etc beat everyone else to get the Grand Slam but DIDN'T take home the Six Nations trophy because of this system, would you still be saying what a good idea it was?

  • 186.
  • At 05:32 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • Chris Clarke-Williams wrote:

I think what you meant was

"one for losing by fewer than seven points;"

You cannot use less to describe a number of items, just a quantity of a substance, for example "Fewer scones will require less butter"

Please try and get this right!

  • 187.
  • At 05:54 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • Ieuan wrote:

We don't need the bonus points.

They were introduced as a counter to negative team play in many leagues and also to make for fairer qualification from the Eurpean cup groups.

However I don't believe they are needed in the six nations at present, with only six teams it is seldom that you get a match that does not involve some sort of genuine consequence.

Also you could not do the proposed system because that would mean:

5 wins + no bonus = 20pts
4 wins + 5 bonus = 21pts

No matter how unlikely it is still possible, and yes I know that Europe allows for this as well, but in that case both clubs would normally qualify.

  • 188.
  • At 06:06 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • Mike E wrote:

* w0zzee wrote:

If bonus points were introduced to the Six Nations then it would actually be possible for one team to win the Grand Slam and not the Six Nations Championship, which is complete and utter nonsense.

Fair comment possibly, but at the end of the day does anyone care about the Grand Slam? It's just a status symbol. And if you do manage to win the Grand Slam but not the title, then you have some thinking to do about how you play your rugby.

As for the other titles like the Triple Crown, base that on the bonus point system too, in a mini-league between the four home nations.

I'd much rather see a battle of try-scoring teams than a 15-12 battle of the kickers.

And no, please don't make a penalty worth less, because it will only encourage defending players into more foul play.

  • 189.
  • At 06:39 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • M B Grieve III wrote:

As a fairly casual fan of Rugby (Six Nations, World Cup, That's It), the bonus points issue intrigues me.

It's odd - the occasional urge of (usually very knowledgable) fans to change a game they originally fell in love with. It happens with other sports too, but it's certainly happening here. And I can't quite understand it.

So what if a team is successful by playing "dull" rugby? Is industrious forward play and accurate kicking not as commendable a skill - or as significant a part of the game - as running by the backs?

The concern from many people about a team achieving the Grand Slam but not winning the title is a valid one - but not the only one. There's also a question of accepting a sport for what it is and what it has been for many generations.

Perhaps it's just an inferiority complex that pervades every sport that isn't Association Football in this country, but I don't see why there's such a drive to bring extra "excitement" to a unique (and let's not forget, pretty short) competition that's already a fantastic spectacle.

So it's a big NO to bonus points from me. Why frown upon well-drilled teams who win tournaments by kicking the overwhelming majority of their scores?

I'd refer any England fans who disagree with that last statement to the quarter-final, semi-final and final of the 2003 World Cup.

  • 190.
  • At 07:19 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • Trapper wrote:

I'm an Aussie who's never watched a 5/6 nations match. I must admit I'm experiencing bit of hemisphere-envy. Any competition that has 4 teams going into the last match hopeful of victory is very cool.

I have to say that the problem of a Grand Slam winner not winning could be solved by awarding 5 bonus points to a team that did the Grand Slam.

All the benefits, no drawback.

That's my two cents worth, anyway.

  • 191.
  • At 08:35 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • adam o connor wrote:

this may cause trouble! but in my view all six nations game should be played on neutral soil. any views anyone?

  • 192.
  • At 09:51 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • Iwan wrote:

I actually feel that the bonus point system, in some ways, encourages negative rugby. Teams with bigger forward packs go out and try to drive their way for tries, and pick up any penalties they get on the way. I think a way to encourage positive rugby would be to say that the number of points from tries scored by one team from tries and conversions should be greater than the number of points scored from penalites and drop-goals. This would mean that sides would have to run the ball more in order to score tries, giving us the same kind of rugby as in the super 14 (although hopefully without all the cheating!). Sounds crazy maybe, but it would stop teams from just doing enough to win games, and making them rely on the whole team rather than their kicker.

  • 193.
  • At 10:25 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • Rob Pressland wrote:

Yes - to the bonus point system... Best thing that ever happend to the English premiership - Keeps the excitement going to the end of every Game

  • 194.
  • At 10:55 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • Tom Green wrote:

Definitely the bonus point rule, as it would lead to a hell of a lot more attacking rugby because of the bonus point on offer, especially in the early stages. Those winning would obviously like to open up a gap on their rivals, and those losing would snatch at the chance of grabbing any points on offer. In general, this would lead to more competitive games throughout the entire table. One point could make all the difference at the end of the 5 games.

  • 195.
  • At 11:56 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • lewisblack wrote:

If England don't win the six nation because of whos scored the most points then i will blame them for that peformance against italy were we could of won by alot lot biger margain than we did.

  • 196.
  • At 12:42 AM on 17 Mar 2007,
  • Jo Bee wrote:

Bonus points? It's like ski jumpers getting extra points for style. The whole point of ski jumping is to go as far as you can, not how you look while you're doing it. It's all about win, lose or draw. How you get there is entirely up to you as long as you remain within the rules of the game. If you want to increase the amount of running then change the rules. As w0zzee wrote: " would actually be possible for one team to win the Grand Slam and not the Six Nations Championship, which is complete and utter nonsense". Seconded.

  • 197.
  • At 02:28 AM on 17 Mar 2007,
  • James347 wrote:

This system cannot work. Anyone remember back to the 2002 Six Nations. France won the Grand Slam, and England came second, losing only one game to France.

I saw one one website the permutations of what the final table would look like if the stated points system above was introduced. The table would actually have England winning the title as they collected more bonus points (and crucially only lost to France by 5 points). Thus, although France won all their games they still would not have won the title! Therefore, the system isn't quite appropriate for the Six Nations.

  • 198.
  • At 04:58 AM on 17 Mar 2007,
  • Len Cobb wrote:

Surely by adding more points for a try you will encourage teams to kill the ball even more as to give away a penalty rather than a try would be the preferred option!

As to the bonus points option, are you telling me that this season hasn't been one of the most exciting? Four teams still in with a chance on the last weekend! Does it really need tinkering with?

  • 199.
  • At 05:39 AM on 17 Mar 2007,
  • Richard wrote:

If you want to encourage more try scoring and running rugby then why not do away with the penalty kick for goal ?

An option for say 10 metres of territory and a scrum could be introduced. Even more radical - opposing team territory and possession based on cumulative penalty count. e.g. every 5 penalties the opposing team has a scrumm on your 22m line !

Personally I love the game as it is. If a team is good enough (NZ A or B, France when they "turn up" ) you get great exciting rugby. Who needs bonus points with coaches etc working out how to win without winning !

  • 200.
  • At 09:07 AM on 17 Mar 2007,
  • collie21 wrote:

Why spoil a good thing.It's St Patrick's day. There is an amazing amount of Rugby on TV as I prepare for the party tonight as my house will have English Italians French and Irish people. I just don't know any Scots or Welsh but they are welcome. Any way, point is 4 teams final day, One team comes out winners. If three teams are tied on points and head to head, then we can start looking at number of tries scored. But for me the way it is is a perfect recipie. It isn't over till it's over. I like the doubt the tension, the closeness, I don't want it all wrapped up before the final day.If it was I would only watch one of the games. Com'on ye boys in Green.

  • 201.
  • At 09:59 AM on 17 Mar 2007,
  • Mike F wrote:

What a great article. I agree that the bonus point system workes well, especially in the super 14 where we see some great high scoring games, however, for the six nations it would not really be appropriate as to make it work, you need to have play offs (or a final). If they introduced a BP system to the 6 nations, they would also have to introduce a finals playoff week (first plays second, third plays forth, and fifth plays sixth). This would then change the Grand slam, the tripple crown, and of course the whole concept of a competition that has developed over the years.

So: No to the BP system
and YES to Ireland taking the cup.

  • 202.
  • At 10:16 AM on 17 Mar 2007,
  • Richard wrote:

definately adopt the bonus point system...makes it much more exciting.
and bring back oranges at half time!

  • 203.
  • At 10:35 AM on 17 Mar 2007,
  • Mat wrote:

All this championship I've been wishing for the newer point system. Not only would this encourage more exicting play, unlucky teams like ireland when they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory against france, wouldn't go home empty handed, theyd still have something to show for their work. Oh and it makes points difference far less prominent. Calculating how many points needed to win, or even lose by, is a headache im sure we all wouldnt mind getting rid of. I doubt you'd ever see a shared championship. And finally, for the traditionalists out there - a huge amount has changed in the past 10 or so years, and has the rugby got any worse? I think not in the slightest. Bring on the new system! (oh and as an englishman, itll be a strange feeling today supporting italy and scotland, not something i thought id do at the start of this years six nations!!)

  • 204.
  • At 10:50 AM on 17 Mar 2007,
  • grant eabry wrote:

bet ireland to win the six nations and send those bookies home with empty pockets go on the greens

  • 205.
  • At 10:50 AM on 17 Mar 2007,
  • paul wrote:

hypothetically the table would look like that with bonus points, but obviously if those rules were in play games could and would have ended differently.

  • 206.
  • At 10:54 AM on 17 Mar 2007,
  • Mark Kidger wrote:

England can only regret that dreadful afternoon in Dublin. If they had kept the scoreline respectable they would be in with a great chance now. As it is, I suspect that the Irish must be slight favourites.

  • 207.
  • At 11:04 AM on 17 Mar 2007,
  • JCF wrote:

I think the bonus points system is a great idea. All you would need to add is a bonus for a grand slam that made it mathematically impossible for a team which did that to lose.

Come on England today.

  • 208.
  • At 11:17 AM on 17 Mar 2007,
  • Mike F wrote:


If england dont win the six nations, it is because they dont deserve to, and not because of the fact that they did not score more points against italy.

If England do win the championship, it will certainly not be a deserved victory, but merely a consequence of what happens elsewhere. That wont happen mate!!!!!!

To win the six nations, you have to be consistant, you have to win every match. The only two teams that deserve the trophy is France and Ireland, and that is why, by the end of today, one of those two will be the "rightful 6 nations champions". Beating France in a one off reasonable display at home does not give england the right to a cup, it merely says that they have improved from a shocking display in pretty much all other games.

Now then, come on Ireland!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 209.
  • At 12:10 PM on 17 Mar 2007,
  • diego wrote:

As a Spaniard, I try to follow rugby from a neutral pont of view, though I make no secret of wanting France to lose.

I think bonus points don't work. You won't defend as well once you are 20 polints down, the only thing to stop the opposition from scoring more tries once the game is done is whatever sense of pride you have. Youll tackle harder 12-15 down than 12-36; once the gap is made the tris can happen in quick sequence.

They also make the competitions hard to follow. We won 3 games, lost 2 by less than 5 and scored so many tries so we have... hmm?

Back to the tournament, I'd have to say it's between Ireland and France. I'd like Ireland to win but I'd give France 50% chances, Ireland 45% and England 5%

  • 210.
  • At 12:13 PM on 17 Mar 2007,
  • alex handy wrote:

If you are saying that to be "rightful 6 nations champions" you must be consistent throughout and win every match, then no team this year is the "rightful 6 nations champion". Ireland beat England in a one off good display at home and were smashed by France earlier in the championship, and France looked fairly average against England. England have been average against Ireland and Italy but have still managed to amass the same amount of wins as Ireland and France. Winning when not playing well is just as much as of a skill as destroying teams when playing brilliantly. To say that England will be less deserved winners because they are relying on results elsewhere is ridiculous as every team in with a chance of winning the 6 nations is depending on results elsewhere! The "rightful 6 nations champion" is the one who wins the competition in the format it is. Lets not start bringing in petty excuses for the losers at the end of todays matches.

  • 211.
  • At 12:26 PM on 17 Mar 2007,
  • Ben wrote:

I don't agree with the bonus point rule. If I'm not mistaken, in 2002, if bonus points were used, England would have won the championship despite France doing the grandslam! Now, don't get me wrong, I'd want England to beat France every time, but it doesn't seem right that a team could win every match yet still not win the title?!

  • 212.
  • At 12:43 PM on 17 Mar 2007,
  • jonny cul wrote:

I totally agree with Ben. Next, if it's a draw, will it be a goal kicking competition?

  • 213.
  • At 12:47 PM on 17 Mar 2007,
  • Khalid wrote:

The bonus point system wouldnt give you the excitement of the permutations you have discussed ;-)

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