While bonus points have been used in domestic club competitions as well as the Rugby World Cup, it wasn’t brought into the Six Nations until 2017. This was due to the fact that a team could win all five games (the Grand Slam) but still miss out on the title if another team won four matches with a bonus point and lost the other game by seven points or fewer.
However, organisers solved this problem by awarding an additional three points should a team complete the Grand Slam.
Pat Whelan, who was Six Nations chairman at the time, said: “We have been looking at the feasibility of a bonus point system for a while and examining what kind of bonus point system would work best, given the unique properties and format of our Championships.
“We needed to ensure that whatever bonus point system we selected would work with the already proven structure of the Championships, and would serve to materially improve what is already there.
“We are happy that the system that we have decided to trial is the one best suited to our Championships, and we are delighted to be going ahead with this new development.
“We believe that the initiative will enhance our competitions for fans, teams, broadcasters and all of those for whom the Championship means so much.”
Ireland were the first team to earn three bonus points for the Grand Slam in 2018, with Wales achieving the feat the following year.
Six Nations 2020 scoring system explained
As per the official rules of the tournament, the nation that wins a match earns four Match Points but a bonus point is added if they score four or more tries during the game (thus claiming five Match Points in total).
The losing country will not receive any Match Points but can claim a bonus point if they score four tries or more or lose by a margin of seven points or less.
If a team scores four or more tries and also loses the game by a margin of seven points or fewer, they will collect two bonus points.
Countries that draw a match shall each be awarded two Match Points and any of them that scores four tries or more in the process shall be awarded an additional one Match Point.
Matches that end in a draw will see countries awarded two Match Points, plus any bonus they may have earned from the above criteria.
A nation that wins all five of their fixtures (known as the Grand Slam) will be awarded an additional three Match Points at the end of the tournament.
Six Nations table explained
If two or more nations end up with the same number of points, they will be placed according to the difference between the total points scored and the total points conceded during the matches they have played.
If any such nations also have the same points difference, they will be placed according to the total number of tries they have scored (this includes penalty tries).
If any such nations have also scored the same amount of tries, the teams will be placed equally.
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