THE Six Nations countries are considering scrapping a tradition that marks out the European international series as the one major rugby tournament that does not have a bonus-points system.
A consultation paper has been prepared for the six countries to consider bringing the venerable competition into line with the southern hemisphere's Rugby Championship and World Cup in having bonus points for scoring four tries or more or losing by a margin of seven points or less.
All the major club tournaments, both national and cross-border, award bonus points, but the Six Nations has rejected proposals to fall in line with the rest of the game, arguing the history and success of the tournament meant change was not necessary.
A change would make it possible for a team that won the grand slam to finish second in the table if they did not secure any bonus points and their main rival had a full house.
Ex-England star Fourie refused visa
Former England international Hendre Fourie is poised to return to South Africa because he cannot get a visa to remain in the country he represented now he is not playing professionally.
The 33-year-old, whose 18-month-old son Hendro was born in England, has been in the country for eight years, playing for Rotherham, Leeds and Sale.
But he was forced to retire last week because of a shoulder injury and consequently had his contract cancelled, meaning his visa is no longer valid.
He said: "I can play for England but I can't get a passport to stay in the country.
"If I had remained on a sports people visa for another two years, I would have got residency, but unless someone is willing to give me another contract, that is not going to happen.
"My wife (Corlia) is South African, but my boy was born here and I would like to have stayed here and tried to get a teaching job. There were options to appeal but I would have had to wait another few years before I could get permanent residency.
"It has been a red-tape nightmare and we just decided it was not worth all the hassle.
"That's the amazing thing, I am not able to claim any benefits in this country. I have always paid my taxes, have represented England, but I have to leave, while you hear how they protect the rights of terrorists."