x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

No bonus points in Six Nations without unanimous agreement, warns Bill Beaumont

The former England captain, chairman of the Six Nations committee, says all 12 members of the group would have to agree to a bonus points structure before it could be introduced for the northern hemisphere tournament.

The 2013 Six Nations captains: Pascal Pape of France, Ireland's Jamie Heaslip, Wales, Sam Warburton, Chris Robshaw of England, Kelly Brown of Scotland and Italy's Sergio Parisse.
The 2013 Six Nations captains: Pascal Pape of France, Ireland's Jamie Heaslip, Wales, Sam Warburton, Chris Robshaw of England, Kelly Brown of Scotland and Italy's Sergio Parisse.

LONDON // Bill Beaumont has revealed that all 12 members of the Six Nations Committee will have to agree in order for the bonus point system to be put into place in the northern hemisphere tournament, which starts next Saturday.

The Six Nations stands out of line with the Rugby Championship in the southern hemisphere and World Cup that operate under a bonus point system.

Other major club tournaments such as Europe's Heineken Cup and the Super 15 comprising teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa also work under the concept.

Currently teams in the Six Nations receive two points for a win and one for a draw, with points difference coming into play in the eventuality of level points at the end of the tournament.

"We had a paper at our board meeting on Tuesday and is going back to the unions for consultation," Beaumont told The National. "It would have to be a unanimous decision."

The Six Nations committee comprises two members from each country with Beaumont, a former captain of England who led his team to the Five Nations Grand Slam in 1980, as the chairman.

Decisions made by the Committee do not always have to be unanimous and often decisions do not reach voting but as the bonus point will fundamentally change the nature of the tournament it was decided to be the right course of action among the members.

Beaumont's experience of beating the four other countries 33 years ago as a player leads him to believe that the prospect of a Grand Slam team losing out to a higher-scoring rival in the championship means that change is unnecessary.

"It still is a fantastic competition and why would we want to jeopardise something that is the greatest country tournament in the world?" he added.

"A team that wins the Grand Slam and does not win the Championship because of bonus points is something I could not come to terms with.

"If we do have bonus points we would have to make certain that the team that wins the Grand Slam wins the tournament."

Philippe Saint-Andre, the France coach, was also very much against the introduction of the system at yesterday's tournament launch at the Hurlingham Club.

"I think we would have lost the spirit of the Six Nations if a team that has won the Grand Slam can lose," Saint-Andre, who earned 34 caps as a player for his country, said. "It is against the spirit of the competition and its long history. We had some quality rugby played in Europe in November, do you really need more? I am not sure."

Scott Johnson, the Australian who will coach Scotland during the tournament starting against England at Twickenham, understandably had a more balanced view.

"The key to bonus points is that I want to hear both sides of the story," he said. "This is such a traditional tournament. I didn't understand the nuances and depth of traditions when I arrived here. I am past telling people what is good for them.

"If people think that is the way the game should go, then that's great."

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