Bonus points have been made a permanent fixture of the Six Nations and the tournament’s chief executive, John Feehan, has suggested they could prove pivotal in deciding the winners of this year’s championship.
Last year bonus points were adopted on a trial basis for the first time in the competition’s 125-year history.
During last year’s edition, 11 bonus points were awarded but they did not have a direct impact on the final standings as England had already retained their title prior to the final weekend defeat by Ireland.
“Overall we’re very happy with bonus points,” said Feehan, “It’s very hard to give you empirical evidence that it’s better.
“But we believe overall, on balance, that it was a good decision and we’re going to keep it. It certainly didn’t take away from anything.
“It’s a very evenly matched tournament this year and we think the bonus points may have more of an impact this time.”