Rugby fans who are used to watching World Cups and Six Nations tournaments know all about bonus points and how important they can be, with qualifying for a group or even championship glory often deciding not only whether your team wins or loses, but also how it wins and loses.
Since the 2003 Rugby World Cup, bonus points have been an important feature in the group stages of the sport’s biggest tournament. For those who are in rugby fever for the first time while Wales are fighting for glory in France, below is a brief overview of how bonus points work and why – as we saw on the opening weekend last week – losing a game is not necessarily fatal to a team’s World Cup hopes.
Fiji may have lost to Wales last Sunday night in what many consider to be the best game of the World Cup so far, but in the process they scored two points in Group C – one for four tries and one for a loss of just six points. after his exciting late comeback.
The points offered in all group stage matches of this World Cup are:
- Four points per win
- Two points for a draw
- A bonus point if a team scores at least four tries
- A bonus point if a team with a maximum of seven points loses
The maximum number of points that a team can collect in a pool game is five (for a win and at least four attempts), so collecting eight or 12 attempts against a pool minnow will not result in two or three bonus points.
With two teams in each group at the World Cup, it can become difficult if more than one team is level on points after all matches have been played in the opening round. So who qualifies if two teams finish the group with exactly the same points?
Who finishes best is determined based on the following criteria (in order of importance):
- Who won the match between the two tied teams
- The team with the biggest point difference
- The team with the largest difference between scored and conceded tries
- The team with the most points scored
- The team with the most tries scored a goal
In the unlikely event that two teams are still completely on an equal footing after taking into account all the above factors, the official rugby world rankings will be taken into account and the one who has the highest rank will be determined as the one who moves on to the next round / finishes better.