Six Nations bonus points will lead to "more exciting rugby"

Tournament CEO John Feehan was speaking to Newstalk Breakfast

Six Nations bonus points will lead to "more exciting rugby"

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

The 2017 Six Nations will be the first to use the bonus-point system.

In previous years, teams earned two points for a win, and one for the draw. In 2017, teams will earn four points for a win, and two for a draw. Two added bonus-points will be also on offer, if a team scores four tries or more in a game, or if a team loses by seven points of less.

On Thursday's Newstalk Breakfast, Alan Quinlan was joined by Six Nations CEO John Feehan to discuss the new system that will be trialled in 2017. He thinks the new system will add a level of intrigue in the coming weeks, but has been delayed due to the "imbalance" of the tournament. Each year three teams, play three times and home and only twice away.

"We believe, on balance, that the risk in terms of adding a level of further imbalance is outweighed by the possibility of getting more exciting rugby... We'd like to see it work".

If a team wins the Grand Slam, they will be given a further three bonus points to guarantee they top the table. Feehan said it was crucial to guarantee the importance of winning all five matches.

"The Grand Slam is such a unique thing. To be honest, it's pretty rare as well.. It's really important that any team that wins all their games should win the championship".

Since Italy joined the tournament in 2000, the Six Nations has been played over seven weeks. Despite pressure from the Premiership in England, Feehan thinks the format and date of the tournament is secure.

"In reality, the Six Nations is the last place people should be looking trying to change... When you look at the importance of the Six Nations, you have to be careful when thinking of tinkering it".

The tournament begins on Saturday, with Ireland's trip to Murrayfield to play Scotland.