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.
The Player of the Year Award also follows the announcement that the Irish Colleges international squad, which is drawn from the colleges system, will play two international fixtures.
The announcement further cements Treasury Holdings' ongoing support for the IRFU since becoming an official partner in 2007 and its sponsorship of all Irish Colleges competitions and international squads.
The Irish Colleges rugby season continues to gather momentum over the coming festive period with the semi-finals of the Treasury Holdings Interprovincial Championship scheduled to take place on December 27 in NUI Galway.
With over 25,000 students in the third level Colleges across Ireland, the Colleges game has been identified as a key development area as part of the IRFU's Strategic Plan 2012.
Commenting on the announcement, IRFU President John O'Callaghan said: "The continued development of rugby in Colleges and Third Level Institutions is an important component of the strategic plan.
"The recruitment and retention of more adults (male and female) into the game will be a top priority for us. Treasury Holdings' support is essential to this and the Player of the Year Award will further grow the reputation and importantly the recognition of Irish Colleges players."
John Bruder, Managing Director, Treasury Holdings Ireland, said: "The introduction of an Irish Colleges Players of the Year Award is a really positive development in Irish Colleges rugby and we are delighted to support it.
"Treasury Holdings believe that this award will acknowledge the skill and hard work that the players put in at this level and recognise their commitment and dedication."
The Irish Colleges Rugby Union incorporates Universities, Agricultural Colleges and Institutes of Technology, Army and Garda Colleges along with other third level instructions.
39 Universities and Colleges and 750 students are involved at this level covering urban and rural Ireland both north and south.