If it weren't for Leicester City - Connacht would be the fairytale that people would be talking about. The westerners have built on their experiences in the Heineken Cup, and Pat Lam has used that and other factors to improve the team year on year.
They play an exciting brand of rugby with their young team and it brought them to second in the table and a semi-final at home to the champions Glasgow. Considering their best ever season before this one was an eighth place finish it was a remarkable campaign.
And it could have been so much better too. A silly loss to Italian side Treviso cost them the crown of being the regular season winners which they would have deserved. In fact, looking at the table for what the PRO12 would look like without the Italians is interesting. There is an argument, and a growing belief that the Italians shouldn't be in the competition that they are adding no value to, or are getting any improvements out of.
So what would that look like:
A look at the top of the table would show that Connacht would be top of the table with a huge five point gap over second placed Leinster. Aside from that, there would be no other real change between that table and the actual final result.
For comparison, here is the top 10 of this year's tournament - with the two Italians finishing bottom. This shows that the top nine teams in the competition are extremely competitive and are consistently beating on the Italians.
For Connacht, it's too soon for a case of what might of been. They need to replicate their last result and beat Glasgow again in Galway to continue this beautiful season.
See Also: There Were A Lot More Positives For Munster This Season Than You Would Have Thought
Picture credit: credit: Max Pratelli / SPORTSFILE