Josh Lewsey says regional rugby is working in Wales.
The England and London Wasps fullback - whose mother is a Welsh speaker and was born in Cwmllynfell - was on the receiving end of last Sunday's Heineken Cup loss to the Celtic Warriors, and says the new-look regional system should get the credit.
'Welsh rugby has been through a torrid time recently,' Lewsey said in a newspaper column. 'The restructuring of their domestic game has been at the expense of several clubs.
'Some of them, with over a century of tradition, have been amalgamated, concentrating the talent and raising standards.
'Some doubters questioned it at the time, but the positive performances of their national team in the World Cup, aligned with the competitive nature of Celtic Warriors, Llanelli Scarlets and The Dragons, clearly vindicates the changes.
'It's an unfortunate situation but a brave necessity in order to maintain the existence of the professional game.'
Lewsey added: 'Whole communities in Wales, along with the game in general, need Welsh rugby to be strong and it seems after a few fallow years that it certainly is where it's going.
'Yet from my point of view they can continue this renaissance once our game against Celtic Warriors finishes.'
The return game in Pool Six takes place at the Brewery Field on Friday and Lewsey is looking forward to playing in front of a sellout 10,000-strong crowd.
'The result at the Causeway Stadium will make the re-match on Friday night mouth-watering prospect,' Lewsey said. 'Pool Six is the tightest of all, with three teams level top with 10points. Consequently, the next two away games are simply must-wins for us to progress.'
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.