When leagues in Rugby Union first started teams were awarded two points for a win, one for a draw and nothing for losing. Over time, to reward attacking play, and to keep more matches "live" towards the end, bonus points were gradually introduced into the leagues.
Teams get four points for winning and two for a draw, with two sources of extra (or bonus) points. To reward attacking, try-scoring rugby, a team that scores four or more tries in a game gets a Try Bonus Point. And to keep matches alive, a team that loses by seven points or fewer gets a Losing Bonus Point (a team behind by, say, ten points can get a bonus point if they score, so will have something to play for even if the match is lost).
One of the tournaments that resisted bonus points for the longest was the Six Nations, and many people suspect that this was because of the very real possibility that a team could win all five of their games (the fabled Grand Slam), but not win the Championship.
If the team winning all five games got no bonus points, and a team winning four games picked up enough bonus points, the Grand Slam winners would come second.
To get around this little "difficulty" the organisers introduced a Grand Slam bonus of three points. That is, any team winning all five games gets three extra points.
So the puzzle this week is to work out what is the highest number of league points a team can get and still finish second.
Answers at 9.00 on Monday