From The Spotter
After doing a Rugby World Cup mid-term review for this site last weekend, I was in conversation with a couple of punters about the bonus point system. One of them was dead against almost the very existence of the term; the other was only against awarding the b.p for a loss by seven or less.
Believe it or not, I had already begun thinking along similar lines to the second Rugby-ite, and now, the more I think about it, I’m willing to state that although I’m way off completing a full U-turn on the subject, I’m biddable for taking a slight detour. And no, I am not selling out if that is what you are thinking. I’m just ruminating on whether we should think of the bonus point for four plus tries scored in a match as a necessary, contemporary evil.
Even this luddite-leaning scribe can unwillingly see the merit in having the b.p. for scoring four or more tries (but I’ll never waver on the giving of the bonus point for a loss by under seven, as I alluded to last week. Consider: Even if a team scored nil on the scoreboard, it would still be possible to procure a bonus point- what tripe).
From a purist point of view it is an uncomfortable thing to swallow, but professional sport is, after all, part of a huge global entertainment industry where Mammon is the Master, television ratings and advertising are the core business, and sport is one of its subservient underlings. And then, as with all the other sporting underlings, Rugby Union has to fight for attention and rewards from aforesaid Master, whether we like or not; (and I really damn well don’t, I can assure you)!
Hence, a bonus point for four tries or more makes, I suppose, a modicum of sense in that it does possibly encourage more attack-minded matches, which as a consequence are naturally more likely to attract general sports fans and the like to the sport. On top of that, there is the no small matter of exorbitant salaries to be kept up with. So if the market decrees it is necessary to adopt bonus points in view of presenting professional Rugby as a better ‘product’, then who am two-bit I to really argue?
And anyway, when you think about it and when all said and done, Rugby isn’t exactly a well-kept secret anymore with only purists like you and me interested, is it? Although, I do still kind of wish it was…
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