Rugby: Farrell expects Six Nations bonus points to lift Lions

Lions and Ireland defence coach, Andy Farrell.
Lions and Ireland defence coach, Andy Farrell. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - The introduction of bonus points to the Six Nations will improve the British and Irish Lions' hopes of defeating New Zealand for the first time since 1971, Lions and Ireland defence coach Andy Farrell has said.

The Six Nations, which starts on starts on Feb. 4, confirmed last month that the new system, introduced initially on a trial basis, will award a bonus point should a team score four or more tries or lose by seven or fewer points.

A similar system has been in place in the southern hemisphere's international competitions since the Tri-Nations was launched in 1996.

"We have been in front against them (New Zealand) with teams I have been involved with and they are masters at the comeback, staying calm and being clinical," Farrell, defence coach for the 10-match tour next June and July, told British media.

"The way to score that bonus-point try is exactly like that - staying calm, being clinical, not being frantic, and going about your job as you should do rather than being too emotional.

"It will create excitement as it goes, you'll know what you need to do along the way, but you still won't get away from the fact that you need to win."

Farrell was part of the backroom staff that masterminded Ireland's shock triumph over New Zealand to halt their record 18-match winning streak last month and the 41-year-old felt that bonus points would encourage teams to be more attacking.

"It is good for us because we want to play a good attacking style of rugby in Ireland, we have shown that with the tries we have scored of late," added Farrell, who also spent more than three years as defence coach with England.

"I believe it is going to be good for us, but everyone knows that you have to score points against New Zealand."