10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
The Australian squad, under the guidance of coach John Connolly, are currently in Sydney on a three-day training camp ahead of their European tour next month.
With regular captain and veteran scrum half George Gregan sitting out the four-Test tour in order to prepare for next year's World Cup, noted centre and out-half Matt Giteau is set to get a run in the number 9 jersey.
With the Aussies training as 'a team' today, the 24-year-old Giteau lined out in the half-back position, a role which he is expected to fill at some stage during the tour. He also took on scrum half duties during a training stint in Coffs Harbour a few weeks ago.
It is understood that the utility player, who has signed a deal to play for Western Force next season, will gain some game-time at number 10 and inside centre during the tour.
With tour captain Stirling Mortlock (leg) temporarily unavailable, winger Lote Tuqiri is certain to move to outside centre for the Aussies' opening tour match against Wales (Saturday, November 4), forming a new midfield combination with Mat Rogers.
Current injury concerns for the Australians include prop Greg Holmes, who suffered a neck injury in Coffs Harbour, and versatile back Drew Mitchell, who is nursing a jaw injury.
Dipping into his pool of talent, Connolly is hoping to add some strength in depth to the Wallabies squad as the countdown begins towards the World Cup.
He said: "I believe around 25-26 players will play Test football on this tour, and nowadays you really need a squad of 30 Test players who can step up to the mark to be competitive.
"We saw how Australia struggled during last year's end-of-season tour because they had a few injuries. We have woken up to that now and realise we need depth. We need 30 good players.
"The forward pack has evolved pretty strongly, and we definitely need to broaden our horizons in the backs and have more flexibility. We really need some of those young backs to come through on this tour."
Connolly and his touring party travel to London on Friday ahead of their month-long tour through Wales, Italy, Ireland and Scotland.
Eddie O'Sullivan's Ireland side will entertain Australia at Lansdowne Road on Sunday, November 19 (kick-off 4pm).