Don't be too quick to write off provinces
Two wins and two defeats last weekend, as the four Irish provinces prepare for another gruelling round of fixtures in Europe. And it's not the death of Irish rugby by any means writes Johnny O'Connor.
Ulster's bonus-point win over Toulouse was fantastic, and it showed that the Irish internationals are gradually getting to the speed of it again after a tough World Cup.
Munster and Leinster weren't so lucky, but especially in the case of Leinster, I think they might be carrying some of the emotional baggage of the World Cup. They had such a big contingent away with Ireland, and it will take time for those guys to reassert themselves with the province.
In Munster's case, they mightn't have had as many involved but with the few players they have out injured, there is still plenty to come. I wouldn't panic, Ulster were sensational against the French last weekend. And another win down in Toulouse, and they are right back on track. And if Connacht beat Newcastle this weekend they can start preparing for a home quarter-final. So things are fine in Irish rugby, there just has to be a bit of perspective.