10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
Ireland was to have staged a three-Nation Pool series, but today, IRFU Chief Executive, Philip Browne outlined that this arrangement could not now be met because of the World Cup schedule clashing with the stadium re - development programme.
Philip Browne said: "As we plan to commence the re-building of Lansdowne Road in 2006, and that programme will continue into 2008, we would not be in a position to stage the World Cup games in Ireland.
"Whilst this is disappointing for Irish rugby, it is incumbent upon the IRFU at this stage to inform Rugby World Cup Ltd and the French Federation of our position as the commercial and logistical plans for RWC 2007 are being addressed at the present time. We have also kept the Government informed in relation to this decision and the reasons for it."
The IRFU has also requested that the French Federation give consideration to staging Irish pool games at reasonably accessible venues suited to travelling Irish supporters and to making special provisions for Irish fans to purchase tickets for Ireland's fixtures.