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Rugby incorporates a unique system to decide advancement in league play and playoff rounds. In a long-standing effort to reward try scoring (over penalty kick scoring), bonus points are awarded for numerous tries in a match. In addition, losing by a small margin, also offers bonus points.
Specifically, this bonus system that decides rugby winners works as follows:
- 4 points for a win.
- 2 points for a draw.
- 1 "bonus" point for scoring 4 tries (or more). (TB)
- 1 "bonus" point for losing by 7 points (or fewer). (LB)
No team generates more than 5 points in a match.
The System In Operation
In this year’s five pools, European Championship round, Pool 2 produced an unusual outcome where the four teams finished with identical 3-3 records. This result necessitated utilizing the standard system to decide who qualified (Q) for the next round.
Although Clermont enjoyed a plus 21 points score differential, and also scored the most tries with 19, and gave up the fewest tries with 14, it did not produce any bonus points in the “losing by 7” points category. Thus, it finished on the bottom of the pool. Data follow:
Pool 2 – Champions Cup (2016)
Team W L PD TF TA TB LB POINTS
Exeter 3 3 -3 18 18 3 1 16 Q
Bordeaux 3 3 -14 18 19 3 1 16 Q
Ospreys 3 3 -4 12 16 2 2 16
Clermont 3 3 +21 19 14 3 0 15
Fair or Unfair ?
Soccer football uses the points scored goal differential to determine advancement in case of league standing ties. The sport features few goals per game, and rewards those teams that combine scoring with strong defense.
The rugby method downplays high scoring routs, especially, matches where one team wins by a wide margin. They key always is to win or draw, which produces the higher range of points.