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.
Buccaneers edged past Galwegians to lift the Connacht Senior Cup for the fifth time since 1998, winning Saturday's hard-fought final 16-12 at the Sportsground.
CONNACHT SENIOR CUP FINAL: Saturday, October 7
BUCCANEERS 16 GALWEGIANS 12, The Sportsground
Scorers: Buccaneers: Tries: Adrian Hanley, Ted Robinson; Pens: Tom Cregan 2
Galwegians: Tries: Penalty try, Anthony Barrett; Con: Paddy O'Toole
Tries from Adrian Hanley and Ted Robinson saw Buccs, who start their AIB League campaign at home to Blackrock next Saturday, beat their western rivals after two defeats to them in recent weeks.
Two early penalties from full-back Tom Cregan, who negotiated a tricky diagonal wind, pushed Buccs into a 6-0 first quarter lead.
A contentious penalty try, which was awarded after Conor McPhillips had been bundled into touch when trying to chase his own kick through - it was extremely questionable whether the Connacht winger would have gotten to the ball before the endline - saw 'Wegians hit back. Out-half Paddy O'Toole popped over the conversion.
But a strong period of pressure yielded a 39th-minute try for Hanley, the non-stop number eight, and left Buccs leading 11-7 at the break.
A well-timed support run saw right winger Robinson, who less than 24 hours earlier was in hot water for a spear tackle on Ulster's David Humphreys, cross the whitewash on 65 minutes.
Time just ran out on 'Wegians, who tagged on an injury-time try through centre Anthony Barrett, as Geoff Moylan's men held firm for a morale-boosting success.