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.
Ireland 'A' captain Shane Jennings is looking forward to leading his side out against the New Zealand Maori in Saturday's final Pool B game at the Barclays Churchill Cup.
The Maori ran in 12 tries for a 74-6 victory over the USA on Wednesday to show just how tough a task it will be for the Irish to qualify for the June 17 final in Edmonton, Canada. Ireland 'A' need a win - by any margin - to progress through to a decider against Pool A winners Scotland 'A'.
Jennings' side failed to hit top gear in their 28-13 defeat of the Eagles last weekend but the Leicester flanker reckons his troops will have improved for Saturday's clash in Santa Clara.
The Dubliner said: "The Maori pose a massive threat to us. They have played in the Churchill Cup before and won it, so we know what they can do. They have a quality set of players and we will treat them with respect, but we won't take a backward step and are definitely looking forward to playing against them."
Whilst the Irish squad have been enjoying themselves this week with trips to Alcatraz, a baseball game and around the San Francisco bay area, there has also been an edge to training with every player out to make an impression under the watchful eye of coach Michael Bradley.
"Relatively speaking, it's a very young team with the average age probably 23. That means everyone is very keen to make an impression, so it's a good squad to be part of," Jennings told the Tigers website.
"Touring somewhere like America is quite a new experience for the squad as it's a different kind of place to play rugby. The sport is still very much developing over here, so it's good to see the crowd enjoying the rugby and getting into the game.
"There were about 4,000 people for our match against the US, and the crowd seemed to be enjoying themselves. We're playing in a place called Santa Clara, which is about an hour south of San Francisco. It's a pretty ground and a good stadium to watch a match. The crowd got behind the Americans as you would imagine and were well heard."
The Ireland 'A' v New Zealand Maori clash kicks off at 10.00pm Irish time on Saturday night with live coverage on Sky Sports 3. IrishRugby.ie will also be maintaining a live match tracker throughout the 80 minutes.