FOR me the talking point of what was a fantastic weekend of European rugby wasn’t the snow causing chaos in some matches, or even the somewhat thrilling game at Rodney Parade Friday night.

It was the scoreboard of Guinness PRO14 versus Aviva Premiership, which ended up 5-2 in the PRO14’s favour across both the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup.

There are many pundits in the rugby world who would tell you that the English Premiership is on a different planet compared to the PRO14, and in some aspects they aren’t wrong.

You look at the way that the Premiership is presented by BT Sport, the stadiums and the crowds that fill them week in, week out and it’s easy to get a perception of superiority over a neighbouring league that, if we’re lucky, gets a five-minute build up from the TV broadcasters pre-game and fixtures in Italy where sometimes the one man wouldn’t even bring his dog.

The PRO14 hierarchy often put together some very interesting stats that show the league to have the highest ball in play time, the most amount of tries scored and least amount of reset in all of Europe.

This even took me by surprise so I’d imagine supporters wouldn’t be expecting it either.

This shows that we have the product but we need to be much better in presenting it to the world. Like everything in professional sport, it comes down to finances and TV exposure.

I’ll hold my hand up and admit that whenever I am asked about English club rugby versus PRO14 I always say it felt like a more professional environment when I was with Bristol and Exeter.

This could be to do with the fact that in England it is purely results driven with the threat of relegation and financial peril, while historically in the PRO14, players and fans have been content with a good performance leading to a narrow loss, especially the second half of the season for teams in the bottom four.

On the flip side of that the PRO14 offers away trips to Ireland, which are some of the toughest Europe has to offer.

Add to this the Italians performing well this season and the new South African clubs having appropriate preparation next season, I can see the league becoming incredibly competitive over the next season or two.

Tonight allows us our very own PRO14-Premiership clash with the game against Newcastle a crucial one if we want to keep alive our hopes of progressing to the knockout stages of Europe’s Challenge Cup.

They have been one of the most entertaining teams to watch this season and have progressed hugely since investing in their new artificial pitch.

Add to that they are brimming with confidence after impressive wins against Northampton and Bordeaux, and this will be a big test of our home record this season.

Players have talked this week about the desire to reach the knockout stages of competitions on a regular basis in the future, as we all would agree they are some of the most memorable moments so far in our short history.

It’s also what attracts new supporters and players to the region, which are crucial to the successful future we are trying to create.

So for those of you who have thawed out since last Friday, it would be great to see a busy Rodney Parade tonight to really get behind the boys and for all our sakes I hope the temperature starts to rise!