Rugby World Cup 2023: how do bonus points work in pool stage? What they are awarded for in games

Rugby World Cup, France 2023. (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU/AFP via Getty Images)
Rugby World Cup, France 2023. (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

The Rugby World Cup has begun and the pool stage promises to be one of the hardest fought so far.

Ireland are preparing for a titanic clash with South Africa, while Scotland are looking for their first points of the tournament against Tonga. England will be looking to tighten the grip on the top spot of Pool D - while Wales face a tough match-up with Australia on Sunday night.

Ireland, South Africa and Scotland are all in one group - while Wales, Australia and world number seven Fiji are also grouped together. Only two teams will advance from each of the pools, meaning that they could all come down to the wire.

Bonus points will likely play a huge roll in deciding which teams advance to the knock-out stages in October. But how exactly do they work?

Here's all you need to know:

How do bonus points work in the rugby world cup?

The system was introduced for the 2003 tournament in Australia - the one England won with Jonny Wilkinson's famous drop goal. If you have watched the Six Nations or European Champions Cup it works in a similar way.

Teams are awarded four points for a win, two points for a draw and 0 points for a loss - but they can get up to two extra points in certain scenarios.

Bonus points are awarded for the following:

  • If a team scores four or more tries

  • A losing bonus point is awarded if a team loses by 7 points or fewer

So the maximum points a team can be awarded for a win is five - but only if they score four or more tries during the victory. A losing team could end up with two points if they also get a try-scoring bonus point and lose by less than seven.