Bonus system trial for 2017 Six Nations

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The 2017 Six Nations will trial a bonus-points system that is aimed at encouraging and rewarding try scoring and attacking play.

Under new guidelines announced by the Six Nations Council, teams will be able to earn extra points should they score four or more tries in a match or a losing bonus if they are beaten by seven or fewer points.

The system replicates those used in club rugby and will "enhance" the Championships, according to chairman of the Six Nations Pat Whelan.

Victories will earn a side four points with a bonus point being awarded if the winning side scores four tries.

Should a beaten team score four tries themselves or lose by seven or fewer points they will earn one point, and if they achieve both of the criteria they claim two points.

In the event of a draw the points will be shared two apiece, with any side that touches down on four occasions earning an extra point to boost their tally.

If a team completes the Grand Slam - like England did in 2016 - they will be rewarded with an additional three points.

"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," said John Feehan, chief executive of Six Nations.

"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.

"We are very excited about the potential that this new development will bring to the Championships and we look forward to trialling it next February and March."

The system will be reviewed following the Championships to decide whether to implement it on a permanent basis.