On the eve of the most anticipated 6 nations for some time there was a very odd statement from John Feehan, the Chief executive of the competition.
He said that the bonus point system could be scrapped after the first year –
The timing strikes me as being a little odd seeing as how this is likely to be a most competitive series with bonus points adding to the excitement.
Even more strange is his reasoning –
“I haven’t changed my view on (bonus points). It is inherently unfair,”
The fact is that the tournament is always – unfair – 3 teams getting 3 home games whilst the others only get two. That is far more unfair than the opportunity to get additional points from 4 tries or being within 7 if you lose – winning on the road is much tougher!
Bonus points seem to work in other competitions – Pro12, Top 14, Premiership and internationally in ‘The Rugby Championship’ – all of which are ‘fair’ in that they all have equal home and away games.
Bonus points also apply in the pool stages of the World Cup!
Feehan continued –
“We are not saying we are right in introducing bonus points. It remains to be seen. It could go the wrong way too. It could be that home teams start to win repeatedly. What you are looking for is a level of uncertainty”
I don’t even know what that means – why would bonus points give an added advantage to the home side? I’m obviously missing something here.
“We are not stupid. Even if we got a marginal wrong result this year you would have to give it time, perhaps a couple of seasons, to see if it changes people’s approach to the game.
“Frankly I don’t think it will make a huge difference. It might think that in the last 10 or 15 minutes of a game teams might go for a try instead of kicking for a goal.
“You would like to think they would set themselves up to attack a little bit more now than they might have in the past.”
Make your mind up John- if it won’t make a great deal of difference why are you so against it? And just what do you mean by a ‘wrong result’?
His final position is –
“It has always been a balance issue,” added Feehan. “We don’t have a principled stand against bonus points.
Er – I think you do mate!