There was a sense of déjà vu about the Heineken Cup last weekend as French clubs put their collective foot on the power pedal to suggest this year's champions will again hail from the Top 14.
We are, of course, only halfway through the pool stage, but with French clubs winning six of their seven games the omens are that they could well repeat last year's feat of providing four of the quarter-finalists, two of the semis and both teams for the final.
All seven French sides are still very much in contention in their pools, and the performances of Perpignan, Toulouse, Toulon and Clermont in round three again left no-one in any doubt as to the power of the Top 14.
None of the above especially impressed on the scoreboard; indeed, the biggest winning margin was the 28-16 result achieved by defending champions Toulouse in Glasgow.
But there is a sense that they are better equipped than their rivals from the UK and Ireland, whether it was Perpignan putting the squeeze on the Leicester scrum, Toulouse winning without engaging top gear, Clermont resisting a fired-up Leinster, or Toulon and Racing Club highlighting the limitations of London Irish and Saracens respectively.
Money talks in sport and the huge salary gap between the Top 14 and other European leagues, especially the Premiership, looks set to continue a trend from last season that saw only one English club, Northampton, reach the knock-out stages.
It is difficult to spot any weaknesses at the leading clubs in the Top 14; their temperament may at times be found wanting, but when it comes to personnel they are strong all over the park, and especially in the key positions.
Whether it is Jonny Wilkinson and Brock James pulling the strings at Toulon and Clermont, or tightheads Nicolas Mas and Census Johnson anchoring the scrums at Toulouse and Perpignan, the French have class where it matters. They can afford it.
Incidentally, the only French side that suffered a reverse last weekend were last year's losing finalists Biarritz, who lost 28-27 at Aironi in one of the biggest upsets in the tournament's 15-year history.
However, the Atlantic Coast giants still top group four and will no doubt gain revenge over the Italians next weekend. Alongside Ulster, they still look favourites to qualify.
Only in group two, where Clermont and Racing are up against Leinster, does it look possible that a French team will fail to progress. Of course, that could quickly change if Clermont secure a win in Dublin next weekend, a strong possibility when you consider Leinster's injury list.
On form, Northampton again look the Premiership's best hopes this season, and tricky away fixtures in Cardiff and Castres will give us a better indication of their true title credentials.
No doubt Leicester fans will disagree with OT and point to the fact that the Tigers also lead their group and arguably face an easier route to the quarter-finals, especially if they can gain revenge on Perpignan at Welford Road in the next round.
As for twice champions Munster, well they should be in the mix come April, but they are less a force without Paul O'Connell and hooker Jerry Flannery.
O'Connell may be fit again but he will miss the return fixture after Ospreys after receiving a red card late on in Sunday's win.
Surprisingly, only two French clubs have won the Heineken Cup, although Toulouse have been champions a record four times. Few would bet against Guy Noves's side extending their record next spring, and even fewer against a French club lifting the trophy at the Millennium Stadium in late May.
Re-setting scrums has become the latest scourge of the modern game due to the IRBs inexplicable inability to instruct their officials to referee the set-piece correctly.
Now OT has never been an expert in the dark arts of the front row, but perhaps referee Alan Lewis's decision to yellow card both hookers in the Perpignan-Leicester clash will make players and coaches take note.
It may have been a tad unfair on Marius Tincu since Perpignan were dominating the Tigers scrum, were camped five metres from their try-line and perhaps should already have been awarded a penalty try.
But Perpignan did at least work a nice try from the next scrum, which incidentally did not collapse or need to be re-set.
Maybe if more referees were to hand out yellow cards when scrums refuse to scrum properly we will be spared what seems like endless minutes of tedium.