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.
Despite their league defeat to Ulster on Friday, Connacht coach Michael Bradley was still impressed with his side's fightback in the closing stages at the Sportsground.
The westerners nabbed a losing bonus point, shoring up the deficit to 24-17, as replacement out-half Paul Warwick played out a memorable final quarter-hour. The 25-year-old Australian collected a try, two conversions and a penalty - the latter came from the last kick of the game - for a brilliant 12-point salvo.
Not only that but it was Warwick's hack ahead up the left wing, which set winger Matt Mostyn on the way to collecting Connacht's second try and the former Ireland international's third of the league campaign.
It was Connacht's second defeat to a fellow province in the space of a week. They are now without a win in the league since September 8, and in danger of undoing the good work of their early wins over the Borders and the Ospreys.
The fact that they have had four sin-binnings, two to out-half Mark McHugh, in their last two games will niggle at Bradley.
Yet the former Ireland scrum half will take what he can from the Ulster game into next Friday's tussle with the Dragons (Sportsground, kick-off 6.30pm). A win there and his side will be armed with renewed optimism for their European Challenge Cup opener against Harlequins on Friday week.
"I felt we did very well in the first half when facing into the wind. Our defence was excellent," Bradley said. "10 points was not too much, given the wind, to be losing by at half-time, but Ulster were better at carrying the ball into the wind and they took their tries well.
"Last week we were unfortunate not to get anything out of the Leinster match - we were level with five or six minutes left, three points adrift in stoppage time and ended up losing by 31-16.
"This time around we got a bonus point when it didn't seem on. All I can say is fair play to the boys, they didn't give up. It shows what can be achieved when you just keep plugging away."
Connacht hooker and captain John Fogarty, after his third competitive start of the season, said: "We are never happy when we don't win but a bonus point against Ulster was welcome and hopefully we can build on that against the Dragons.
"We felt we were in a good position at half-time. We held Ulster scoreless for more than half-an-hour even though they had the benefit of a very strong wind, and being 10-0 down at the break left us with a good chance.
"But we didn't push on from there in the second half and they got two more tries," conceded the Ireland 'A' international.
Bradley added: "Looking at it, it was great to get something out of the game - it could turn out to be a very important point for us as the league progresses. It just shows you should never give up. We're disappointed to lose but we will take the positives from the game and move on."