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.
...Irish team captain Sarahjane Belton addresses the gathering at Lansdowne Road on Saturday...
The Ireland Women's squad have arrived in Canada for the start of the 2006 Women's Rugby World Cup. They marked their departure with a farewell gathering at Lansdowne Road over the weekend.
Phillip Doyle's charges flew out of Dublin Airport on Sunday morning, with high hopes of a strong performance at the tournament.
At a farewell function for the squad, held at Lansdowne on the eve of their departure, IRFU President Peter Boyle joined a crowd of almost 100 well wishers made up of the players' families, friends, management and sponsors of the IWRFU, including major sponsors Anglo Irish Bank.
Irish captain Sarahjane Belton said that the squad is determined to do their country proud in Canada.
She admitted: "The three games we have against France, America and South Africa will be among the toughest we have ever faced. There is a resolve amongst us however, to do ourselves proud and in turn make Ireland proud that we are representing the country out there.
"I was lucky enough to have played at the last World Cup in Barcelona and while taking part in that tournament was a fantastic experience, I have no doubt that the Irish Women's team of 2006 is the best prepared group of players that has ever entered any major tournament."
Out-half Belton added that recent wins over Canada and Scotland had proven that Ireland could beat the world's top ranked sides.
IWRFU President Susan Carty said that the squad took with them "years of hard work, ability and a belief in themselves that had grown over the years."
Ireland open the pool stages with a game against France on Thursday (Edmonton, kick-off 12.00am). IrishRugby.ie will be running a live match tracker for the tie - there will also be a live webcast on the IRB Women's Rugby World Cup website.