There have been a number of surprise results, notably Cardiff defeating reigning champions the DHL Stormers last weekend to end their 15-match unbeaten run, while the Dragons have claimed the scalps of Munster and the Ospreys.

Benetton also made a mark early doors, winning three of their first four matches, beating Glasgow and the Scarlets along the way, while the Emirates Lions - 12th last season - pulled off a hat-trick of victories on the road.

Overall, it’s been a more even playing field, which is just what chief executive Anayi had been hoping to see.

“A key goal for us is to have jeopardy and competition right through the league and I think we have got that this year,” he said.

“There is just one win that separates third and eighth in the table and again one win between ninth and 15th. So that’s really pleasing to see after the first few rounds.

“The stats show that 33 per cent of the games have been won by teams who are effectively underdogs, teams that finished below their opponents last season. That’s really good to see.

“We are just seeing more and more people believing they can be competitive in this league and the clubs are doing a good job. That’s why we are seeing some of these upsets and the gaps closing, which is important for us. We want the Vodacom URC to be as strong a league as possible and that needs to be from the bottom team all the way up.

“You are seeing teams coming through and getting some belief. Whatever they are doing, we would like them to keep on doing it.”

Anayi continued: “The South African sides have been very strong compared to the front end of last season, winning a whole bunch of games and being very difficult to beat.

“We have seen Benetton able to play their internationals in the early games, so they have been very competitive and we have seen some fantastic performances from Zebre without quite getting the results yet.

“I look at the Emirates Lions, they have got some incredibly good young talent and have put some serious performances together, notably against Edinburgh away. It’s been really pleasing to see the likes of Cardiff coming through and putting a super performance in and beating the DHL Stormers, which is not easy to do, the defending champions.

“We are starting to see some continuity and cohesion in the Welsh regions. We were really pleasantly surprised by the Dragons at the weekend. They looked very strong and have some great young talent with the likes of Rio Dyer coming through.”

Speaking more about the Welsh sides, Anayi said: “Some of the players and coaches they have got are really right up there. Cardiff is a fantastic rugby city with a stadium in the centre, the same with the Dragons, Rodney Parade is a fantastic venue walkable from the high street. You’ve got a great location for the Ospreys in Swansea and then you’ve got one of the best state-of-the-art rugby venues in Parc-y-Scarlets.

“So you’ve got all the component parts, you’ve had great success at international level with Wales. So maybe we are starting to see this come through for the regions.

“We would love a repeat of what the Scarlets have done in the league previously and for a Welsh team to go on and win it. Having different teams from different countries win the Vodacom URC gives us the added flavour we need.

“It’s important we have four really strong regions in Wales and that they are competing successfully in the Vodacom URC. At the moment, we are seeing the Dragons beat the Ospreys and Cardiff beat the Stormers and I am sure we will see a resurgence from the Scarlets as well.”

Turning to crowd numbers in the league as a whole, Anayi said: “Attendances are up 12 per cent year on year, which is a key metric and focus for us this season.

“Anyone who watched the Leinster-Munster game at the weekend, it was almost international quality game with 46,000 at the Aviva Stadium. It was quite special.

“Leinster did a superb job to get 18,000 for the Sharks game at the RDS, with a fantastic new fanzone. Teams are working super hard to put on an event experience and that’s starting to see just reward.

“As for the TV figures, the last three rounds have improved week on week in terms of viewership, so we are tracking just above last season.

“All our metrics are up, our games are more competitive, teams are pushing Leinster more and more. There have been a lot of tries scored which is always good viewing, good entertainment, and there have been really close games. I think the season has started pretty well. We have got some really good things happening.”