England could finish the tournament with more wins but still lose the title to Ireland

There has been a lot of debate around bonus points in the Six Nations in the lead up the final weekend of the 2024 tournament. This is mainly because Ireland could win the title even if England win more games than them.

All Ireland need against Scotland to win the title this Saturday is a losing or try bonus point and it would make it impossible for England to catch them. Both England and Ireland have won three games in the Six Nations so far. But if England beat France and Ireland lose but pick up a bonus point, Ireland will win the title with three wins to England’s four.

Read more: How can England win Six Nations?

However, if bonus points were not a part of the Six Nations then all England would need is to beat France and for Ireland to not win. If bonus points were not included Ireland and England would both be on 12 points, meaning a draw between Ireland and Scotland would be enough for Steve Borthwick’s team to win the trophy if they beat France.

The bonus point structure also means France and Scotland are still in the title race. Without bonus points both teams would not have enough points to catch Ireland or England.

The table would also look different as France would be above Scotland. Scotland are currently on 11 points with three bonus points part of the total. France are also on 11 points but only have one bonus point. And so without bonus points France would be in third with 10 and Scotland would have eight.

While the bottom of the table positions would not be affected, Wales blushes have been saved. Without bonus points Warren Gatland’s side would have zero points after losing every match so far.

Here is what the Six Nations table would look like without bonus points:

  1. Ireland: Wins: 3, Draws 0, Losses 1, PD 80 = 12
  2. England: Wins 3, Draws 0, Losses 1, PD -3 = 12
  3. France: Wins 2, Draws 1, Losses 1, PD 4 = 10
  4. Scotland: Wins 2, Draws 0, Losses 2, PD 4 = 8
  5. Italy: Wins 1, Draws 2, Losses 2, PD -37 = 6
  6. Wales: Wins 0, Draws 0, Losses 4, PD -48 = 0

Despite criticism the bonus point structure has faced this week, the Six Nations CEO Tom Harrison has defended the set-up.

“Remember why bonus points are there — bonus points are there to promote positive rugby. It’s about fan engagement,” Harrison said. “Also, the players know. It’s not as though we’re saying ‘you’ve played so well, we’re going to award you an extra point afterwards’…

“There have been some brilliantly unpredictable results. That’s one of the features of the Six Nations – you genuinely don’t know what’s going to happen. We’ve still got jeopardy. No, I don’t think it will change.”

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