PAUL O'CONNELL has admitted to feeling frustration at the manoeuvring that is threatening the future of the Heineken Cup.
The two-time European champion desperately hopes that the competition as it is "isn't taken apart" and that a solution to the impasse casting a shadow over its future is found.
"I don't know whether it's a serious threat by the English and French clubs or a negotiating tactic but it's a fantastic tournament and one that is very important to the Irish provinces," O'Connell told the 2fm 'Game On' show last night.
"From a financial point of view it's a very important competition and it's also one that is very important for people's interest in the game here. I hope an agreement can be made."
O'Connell declined to speculate on whether or not the Irish provinces should join a new European competition if the Heineken Cup ceased to exist.
"I don't know about the politics of that. There will be decisions made from a financial point of view and I'm not going to comment on that," he said.
He is still a couple of weeks away from a return to active duty with Munster – "I'm nearly there" – and had some words of advice for everyone in light of the province's two bonus-point victories in the league so far.
"It's a good start but it's important for everyone to remember they (Edinburgh and Zebre) are not the strongest two teams in the competition," he said.