Scott Hastings welcomes introduction of Six Nations bonus points

Scotland v England in the Six Nations
Scotland finished fourth in the 2016 Six Nations

Former Scotland international Scott Hastings welcomes the addition of bonus points in the Six Nations championship.

From next season one point will be awarded for scoring four tries or more and for losing by a margin of seven points or fewer.

Three bonus points will also be awarded to a team that wins all five matches so that no nation can secure a Grand Slam but not win the Championship.

"You don't play to draw, you play to win," Hastings told BBC Scotland.

The Six Nations say there will be a bonus-point system in the 2017 championship and a change from two to four points for a win to "encourage and reward try scoring and attacking play".

The system - already used in the World Cup, English Premiership, Pro12 and the National Rugby Championship in Australia - will also be trialled in the the Women's Six Nations and the Under 20s Six Nations championships.

Scotland host Ireland at Murrayfield on 4 February in the Six Nations opener.

And Hastings, who won 65 caps, thinks the changes are a step forward.

"This will encourage winning habits and sometimes as sports people we take our eye off that," said the former centre.

"If you are going for that extra bonus point on the last play of the game it benefits players, spectators and the TV audience.

"It's a tremendous benefit for the game because the way the Six Nations is it can stagnate at times as teams protect rather than go for a win."

Scott Hastings (right)
Scott Hastings (right) won 65 caps for Scotland

The Six Nations have stopped short of introducing more changes, with a possible promotion and relegation system put on the back burner for now.

However, Hastings believes it is something that will happen at some point.

"I think eventually that will come," he said. "It may be that an autumn series may have some sort of standing, where a Georgia or a Romania may have an opportunity to come into an expanded championship. But that's going to be quite a few years down the line.

"Last year I actually tweeted to say I thought Georgia coming in to the Six Nations would be wrong because they couldn't bring the crowds, yet they played a Rugby World Cup qualifier against Russia in front of 50,000 supporters, so the game is popular in Georgia.

"In years to come Scotland may not have a right to dine at the top table and to stay in the Six Nations is what Scotland will ultimately have to do. That debate will come along one day."

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