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.
Connacht coach Michael Bradley is hoping his side's luck changes in Limerick on Sunday when they go in search of a prized Magners League win over Munster.
The westerners' luck was out when they visited Cardiff last time out in the league - having bagged a converted try after only two minutes, they ended up losing 15-13 to the five-penalty Blues - and previous to that, three late tries was still not enough for victory against Glasgow (39-34).
Having made five certain changes for this weekend's provincial derby - captain John Fogarty, Ray Hogan, Colm Rigney, Mark McHugh and Conor McPhillips have all been drafted back into the starting line-up, while either Brett Sturgess or Stephen Knoop will start at tighthead prop - Bradley is confident his charges can deliver.
"It's an important match for Munster because they need to start picking up points, while we have five matches over the course of the next month - all important for different reasons," said the former Ireland scrum half.
"As well as playing Montpellier twice in the Challenge Cup, we've to play Munster twice and Ulster away in the league - these away games are difficult, but it's important we get something out of them in terms of points. If we get the performance right, then we should."
In the past two years, Connacht have gone close to beating their southern rivals, losing 3-0 on two occasions and drawing 27-27 at Musgrave Park in September 2004.
It is all of 20 years since they scored their last win over Munster and success in Limerick would certainly give the province further impetus to push for that Heineken Cup qualification play-off spot, moving them up to fifth in the table.
Bradley said: "It's nip and tuck at the moment between ourselves and the Dragons, while we are currently 12 points clear of the Borders. The last four games have been very close, although we have the opportunities to win but have not taken them.
"However there is a lot of confidence within this side, and we are playing good rugby so we view Sunday's encounter with Munster as another opportunity.
"Obviously Munster are the European champions and they are a very strong side playing at Thomond Park. But it has been a while since the full Munster side has played together and there is huge incentive for us to win."