Josh Lewsey - "the Welshman who got away" - 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.
"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."
Wales reached their first semi-final since 2013 in the opening round of this season's HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie recaps on what proved to be an eventful tournament
Wales and Ospreys back row James King, who came through the North Wales age grade system, nominated North Wales Regional Community Rugby Manager Marc Roberts, in the WRU's 'Diolch' initiative where squad players thanked those who played a part in their rise to the top.
Beating Merthyr has boosted Carmarthen Quins hopes of reaching a top eight spot in the Principality Premiership. Quins captain Haydn Pugh is delighted with his team's progress and is determined that everyone from the Under 6s through to the senior team, enjoys the ride.
When the Wales squad were asked to nominate individuals who played a big part in their early playing days, Wales and Dragons full back and wing Hallam Amos thought of his former Monmouth School rugby coach John Bevan.
Sam Cross and Luke Treharne have been named as co-captains of the Wales Sevens side as head coach Gareth Williams names his 12-man squad to play in the first leg of the HSBC World Series in Dubai next weekend.
Bedwas head coach Steve Law and players Nicky Griffiths and Alun Rees extol the virtues of the close knit club as they prepare to host third place RGC 1404 - who are one place head of them on the Principality Premiership points table - on Saturday.
Many of the Wales squad have said Diolch (thank you) to someone who played an important part in their early playing days by nominating them to be invited to the Wales v South Africa match. One person, Gowerton Comprehensive geography teacher Mr Dean Mason was nominated by two of his former pupils, Dan Biggar and Sam Davies.
The second WRU disability rugby pilot has been delivered, this time in Caerphilly schools, culminating in a festival at the Caerphilly Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach tomorrow. Plans are in place to set up a Disability Rugby Club in Newbridge to provide long-term playing opportunities.
WRU TV: Hear from inside the Wales camp as Neil Jenkins discusses this weekend's clash with South Africa and how the squad are looking to put in a strong performance to round of the 2016 Under Armour Series