The end of October 2020 brought the climax of the Six Nations Championship, with England winning the tournament ahead of France, by virtue of greater points differential. While they were deserved winners, I feel that the bonus points system brought in the 2017 championship should be revisited.
I would remove the losing bonus point (LBP), as I feel that it doesn’t add any value to the championship, and at some point may have a detrimental effect on the final positions. If a team is losing by ten points, and are awarded a kickable penalty at the end of the game, they may take three points rather than going for a try. Thus, a potential four point game score swing may occur. As the game should be all about scoring tries, removing the LBP would have a positive effect in the game.
I would keep the try bonus points (TBP), but would tweak it, so that even of a team is losing heavily, they may have an effect on the bonus points. I would adopt the TBP system that is used in Super Rugby, Rugby Championship and the Top 14. While currently a TBP is awarded for scoring four or more tries both teams could potentially get a TBP, and teams may then go conservative after they have the TBP. The way the French league and Southern Hemisphere competitions apply their TBP, is that you are awarded the bonus if you score at least three tries and three more than the opposition. So if you score six tries, you must also prevent the opposition scoring four. I prefer this method of award as for most games, even those where the result has already been decided, the losing team can influence the take away of the victors. This would then encourage a team to consistently play attacking rugby, but also require precision. The team trying to get the TBP, would not play champagne rugby and take risks, in case they then conceded, and made their task even more difficult. Also a losing team can have a greater impact, as even if they are more than 14 points down, and not able to get a LBP (if they are still available), scoring a try may stop the opposition getting a TBP. This would be especially true if the team is challenging at the same end. This would mean that both sides can influence the points that the victors can achieve and the points tally is not decided until the final whistle sounds.
While this predominately looks at the 6 Nations, I believe that a review of the Bonus Point system should take place in both the English Premiership and Pro-14.