CHRIS KIRWAN SAYS: It's dangerous to bid for a bonus
2:17pm Thursday 24th October 2013 in Sport
WHATEVER channel European rugby is broadcast on next season you can be sure that it will be exhausting.
Each moment will be billed as vital and we will be told by excited commentators that a dropped pass in October will have ramifications on who is lifting silverware in May.
Every point is said to be precious in the bid for the knockout stages, hence wild scenes when Leicester crossed for a fourth try in time added on, frustration at Franklin's Gardens when Northampton were held to three scores and a crumb of comfort for Harlequins when Nick Evans knocked over a drop goal for a losing bonus.
It was the same at the Rec where Newport Gwent Dragons' failure to leave Bath with anything to show for their efforts leaves them with no margin for error in Pool Two of the Amlin Challenge Cup.
A 4-1 defeat would have been seen as okay, 4-0 was far from ideal but at least it wasn't a 5-0 disaster.
Bonus points have added an extra dimension to rugby and provide entertainment for spectators, who get enterprising rugby from those chasing a five-point haul and guts in defence from those that are striving for a solitary point on the road.
But they can also be dangerous.
The score was 10-10 when the Dragons turned round for the second half at the Rec, prompting many (myself included) to state that they would happily take that.
And when the hosts had banged over a pair of penalties as the game passed the hour it was still far from doom and gloom. They'd have taken that.
In the end there was little to play for in the final stages with bonuses out of reach for both Bath and the Dragons.
However, the game was there for the taking for the visitors; the English side possessed a formidable tight five but their second-half dominance was down to poor Dragons play rather than them stepping up their game.
Director of rugby Lyn Jones has called into question his side's mentality on their travels this season. "We've been away to Edinburgh and Munster and simply haven't believed that we can win," he said before Bath.
"We've got a bunch of losers when we play away and that's the biggest hangover from last season."
The bonus point can be part of that problem, creating a mindset where teams are happy to cling on to what they've got rather than chase victory.
Comments are closed on this article.