Saturday 20 January 2018

Nigel Owens: it's time for new system for Six Nations

Ref backs bonus points for 6 Nations

Nigel Owens
Nigel Owens
Nigel Owens

Referee Nigel Owens has called for the introduction of 'The Bonus Points System' to improve the The Six Nations.

"A lot of people say you can't have that. They say it is unfair because you play at home more one year and away more the next year," voiced Owens.

"It may not be fair the first year. But it rotates the second year. You get more home games every second year. It will even out after the first season."

It isn't the only reason those who back the old system refuse to bend to the march of progress, preserving old traditions.

"People have also said you can't have the bonus-point system because you could have a team which has lost one game finishing above a team which has won all their games.

"That would never happen," said the Welshman, proclaimed by many as the best whistler in the world.

"If you win all your games, you automatically win the Grand Slam because you put in place a system where you are given extra points or whatever to entitle that you are top of the table."

Then, the glorious end to the Six Nations would become more regular as nations battle out for try bonus-points and the immediate reward for playing positive rugby rather than playing the percentages until they are not enough any more.

"That would contribute to what we saw last Saturday," insisted Owens.

"It was an amazing day of rugby and I think a lot of people who would not be traditional rugby supporters would now be looking forward to watching their next game of rugby."


The traditionalists have long argued you don't fix something that isn't broken.

Until last Saturday, the Six Nations as a spectacle had taken daggers for the unappealing nature of the games in which defence was dominant over attack.

This all changed on one afternoon of crazy rugby when positivity took the game forward as a source of intrigue and entertainment, leading to a significant jump in viewing figures.

And the reasons for the shackles to come off? "There were two reasons, I think" he said.

"The sides were positive and wanted to play and, the way the fixtures turned out at the weekend, you had to play to win The Championship.

"Wales had to score points out in Italy. Ireland then had to beat Scotland and beat them well. England had to beat France and beat them well.

"It shows what a great game rugby can be," added the man from West Wales.

"We saw that in the recent past as well with Ireland and New Zealand just over a year ago and South Africa and New Zealand before that.

It was no coincidence Owens was the man in charge for England and France.

The way he was willing to let the game flow and find its' own rhythm compared in sharp contrast to the manner in which Wayne Barnes went whistle happy in the first quarter of Wales-Ireland to establish his authority.

It showed the difference between one with empathy for the game and trust in the players and another who used the rigid laws of the game to set down boundaries.

There is much management and players can do to improve rugby and much the men in the middle can do too.

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