The Six Nations has announced there will be a bonus-point system in the 2017 championship to “encourage and reward try scoring and attacking play”.
Last season it was two points for a win, but that will become four – plus a bonus point for four or more tries.
A losing team could pick up two bonus points – one if they score four or more tries and another if they lose by fewer than seven points.
A team that wins the Grand Slam – all five games – gets three extra points.
Teams that draw will now get two points each with a similar bonus point available for high scoring.
The system – already used in the World Cup, English Premiership, Pro12 and the National Rugby Championship in Australia – will also be trialled in the the Women’s Six Nations and the Under 20s Six Nations championships.
The first game of this season’s men’s Six Nations is Scotland against Ireland at Murrayfield on 4 February, followed by holders England against France at Twickenham on the same day.
England won their first Grand Slam in 13 years in last season’s competition.
John Feehan, chief executive of Six Nations said: “The drama and excitement of the last weekend of the Six Nations championship is unique and is, more often than not, driven by a number of teams on equal championship points all competing for first place on the table.
“It is important for us to ensure that any bonus point system which is implemented would not, in any way, take away from this unique dynamic.
“At the same time, we are also conscious that we must reward try scoring and an attacking style of play that will deliver more tries and greater rewards for fans and players alike.”
The trial will be “evaluated” after next year’s competitions.
What difference does it make?
If the new bonus-point system was applied to the results in last season’s championship, each side would remain in the same finishing position…