The Guinness Pro14 currently lacks any real spark, according to Donal Lenihan, who adds that the competition has far too many games where the outcome is known in advance once teams are named. 

One such game was the clash of Leinster and Ulster on Saturday last at the RDS.

"The minute you saw the Ulster side announced, the game became a foregone conclusion and that was disappointing," Lenihan said when speaking on 2fm's Game On.

And while Connacht and Munster named relatively strong sides in the other derby game in what was an enjoyable contest, the former Ireland international sees that as more the exception rather than the rule. 

He continued: "Connacht and Munster had sufficient numbers of their top players in action and that was good to see.

"But then look at Leinster. I don't know is there a team in any sport that are 19 points ahead in a league table, chopping and changing their side as they do?

"At least Conference A with Munster leading as a result of Glasgow falling apart over the Christmas period is competitive. There is only seven points separating the top four."

Lenihan then singled out the efforts of certain teams in the competition when saying: "The likes of the Cheetahs, Zebre, Dragons and Southern Kings have little or nothing to offer.

"I have been very disappointed with the South African sides. I gave them the benefit of the doubt when they came into the tournament as they were coming out of a Super Rugby season.

"You look at the Cheetahs, you would have thought they'd have offered more than the Kings after making the play-offs last year. This season, for whatever reason they have fallen away. I know they have three games in hand over other sides, so hopefully they'll come back in the run in.

"Overall, the Pro 14 has too many dead rubbers, too many teams putting out under strength sides for games away from home. That's something we've been criticising the French top 14 sides for years. 

"I would be worried for the future of the Pro14. How many games have we seen with small attendances?

"The South African stadiums are far too big.

"There is a suggestion that you could have two more South Africa franchises - The Sharks and The Bulls.

"If they are going to join they have to take it seriously.

"One positive is the advancement made by Benetton. They sit third in Conference B. They beat Glasgow over the weekend and have won seven matches so far. So that is some spark from the Italian scene."