Nigel Owens urges European power-brokers to introduce bonus points in the Six Nations
It’s the only cross-border tournament in the professional game that doesn’t have them
Owens believes bringing bonus points into the Six Nations would raise standards
Nigel Owens, who refereed the Rugby World Cup final, believes that rewarding teams for tries scored would ‘add to the spectacle’ of the northern hemisphere competition.
Last year’s Six Nations saw all six teams predominantly play a conservative brand of rugby, which ultimately could be the reason the Northern hemisphere teams flopped when they came up against more attack-minded teams, such as Australia and New Zealand, during the Rugby World Cup.
“The World Cup showed the influence of bonus-point systems [an extra point for a fourth try in the pool stages],” explained Owens.
“Teams went out to score tries. It will be interesting to see what happens in the Six Nations now because it doesn’t have bonus points. I’d like to see them brought in.
“If you win all your games for a Grand Slam, you should still finish top. That would please most supporters. But it’s important to win with style.”
Referees have their own idiosyncrasies. Owens, blessed with genuine empathy for the game, encourages continuity so the side in possession can operate with pace. Right now, it is precisely the approach the Six Nations needs.
However, there is a potential snag if the bonus point system predominately used in the professional tier was adopted by the Six Nations, in that a team which wins all five of its matches for a Grand Slam but fails to secure a bonus point could be denied the title.