An amended bonus point system operates in 2016, with teams now accruing winning bonus points by scoring three more tries than their opposition rather than simply scoring an arbitrary number of five-pointers. The Super Rugby ladder shows us, however, that earning bonus points does not necessarily translate to a positive ladder position.
As it stands, it is unsurprisingly the four teams to have earned more than three Try Bonus Points – the Hurricanes (6), Chiefs (5), Crusaders (4) and Lions (4) – who occupy positions in the top five on an overall ladder.
While many logical correlations make sense, such as a team with a high number of Try Bonus Points being in a favourable position on the ladder, there are some interesting outliers.
The Brumbies and Bulls have had above average seasons so far. The Pretoria side sit atop the Africa 1 conference, while the Canberra club are just one point away from the lead in the Australia conference.
Despite this, both of these sides rank in the bottom three for percentage of competition points that have come from bonus points.
The Kings, still yet to accrue their first bonus point of the campaign, languish at the bottom, but the Bulls and Brumbies have both registered less than 10% of their competition points from the extras.
For the Brumbies, it has cost them. Though they sit just one point behind the Waratahs for the conference lead, they have five bonus points fewer than the New South Wales side.
This is a drop from the Brumbies total from last year when they accrued 11 bonus points for the regular season, the most of any team. The Bulls too, could be enjoying a more comfortable lead in the Africa 1 conference. Instead they sit level with a Stormers side that has managed to snatch six bonus points, four from tight losses.
It has been the Jaguares who have benefited from the new system the most, snaring almost 40% of their competition points through extras so far this season. The Hurricanes’ 22% is the most of any team currently in contention for a finals position and that’s thanks to the fact that they’ve won eight bonus points, the most of any team.