Academy model looks the way to go
After the quarter-finals in the Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup, it's obvious the big-money clubs continue to rule the roost in European rugby, writes Johnny O'Connor.
Toulon may have finally been knocked out, but with the likes of Wasps, Saracens and Racing Metro all still involved, it's shows money can buy you success at this level.
There's talk now of even bigger names on their way to Wasps, and some of the price tags being mentioned are nuts, but it's only going to get worse and worse and the Irish provinces will fall further and further behind.
American TV rights will pump more money into the English and French clubs and it leaves the provinces needing to grasp at another concept to compete.
The Connacht Rugby model is starting to look quite appealing. They may have lost out to cash-rich Grenoble, but they weren't far off.
They focused on bringing in Pat Lam, he followed that up with surrounding himself with the right coaches, and the acquisition of Bundee Aki was crucial.
From there Connacht have focused on the culture and philosophy within the club and that seems to be working fine.