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.
Despite Wednesday night's loss to Australia 'A', Wasps out-half Jeremy Staunton still took heart from the performance of an Ireland 'A' side which was knitted together only last Sunday.
Late converted tries from centre Morgan Turinui and flanker Stephen Hoiles helped the Wallabies pick up their first midweek win of their European tour - a 24-17 success at a rain-hit Thomond Park.
But Michael Bradley's Irish outfit led 11-0 after half an hour and 11-3 at half-time and looked to have enough in the tank to grab a morale-boosting win, especially with debutants Luke Fitzgerald, who grabbed their only try, and Stephen Ferris performing so well.
Little by little though, the Australians took control and with Irish flanker Keith Gleeson sin-binned on 69 minutes, they did enough in the remainder to warrant the win with both Turinui and Hoiles breaching the Irish line for Cameron Shepherd to convert.
Staunton, who landed a brace of penalties in each half for a 12-point haul, said afterwards: "We put it up to them. We only got together on Sunday night and had only two training sessions - this was our first time playing together.
"I was happy enough at half-time and thought we deserved another try. Then in the second half we tried to keep the ball in hand more often but things did not happen for us. They got two tries, one a good one and the other one was poxy!"
Hoiles' 79th-minute effort saw him swoop on a loose ball which bounced favourably for the openside to score.
Staunton, who played many times at Thomond Park for Munster, added: "The Aussies have been together for three or four weeks, in camp and on tour, and that probably made a difference."
Of his own performance, which was closely monitored by a watching Eddie O'Sullivan, he said: "I mixed the good with the bad. I am never happy when we lose."
Staunton's opposite number Mark Gerrard, who is not a recognised number 10 and came in for some criticism after a poor outing against the Ospreys two weeks ago, said: "I am happier with my performance than when I last played there (at 10). In these wet conditions I wanted to plug the ball into the corners and overall we did pretty well.
"I had good communication with those outside me (Turinui and Scott Staniforth) and was happy enough as we did pretty well."
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