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.
Australia's new coach John Connolly has named nine uncapped players in his squad for the summer tour series. Australia will play Ireland in the Subiaco Oval in Perth on June 24th, but will start their series with a game against England on Sunday June 11th - the day after Ireland play their opening test against New Zealand.
Brumbies Gene Fairbanks and Guy Shepherdson join Waratahs Sam Norton-Knight, Wycliff Palu and Benn Robinson, Queensland's Rodney Blake and Josh Valentine and Western Force pair Tai McIsaac and Cameron Shepherd to make up nine uncapped players in the squad. Connolly has kept faith with skipper George Gregan and named him as Captain.
"I've said throughout that we would pick the squad on form. There were a few unlucky omissions but we feel that the squad we've selected is the strongest possible one," said Connolly.
"It's a young squad but there's a good mixture of youth and experience," he said.
Connolly acknowledged that the team was under pressure to perform in the short term as well as looking forward to the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
"You could suggest that we've picked a squad with a view to the future, but the supporters expect the National team to perform well in every Test and rightfully so," said Connolly