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.
The talented back row - who turns 27 on April 25 - will begin his second spell at the province, having originally left the west for the Hedingley home of the Leeds Tykes in 2003.
The youngest of five brothers who turned out for Buccaneers in recent times, Rigney - also a member of Ireland Development squad that thrashed Japan 83-13 at Ravenhill in 2000 - has made 15 appearances for Zurich Premiership bottom side Leeds this season.
Connacht manager Tim Allnutt is already predicting a strong 2005/06 season from the Portlaoise-born forward.
"Colm is a top quality back row player who has performed very well with Leeds over the past two seasons and has played a key role in his sides achievement of reaching the Powergen Cup Final," said former centre and captain Allnutt.
"Having played with Connacht two seasons ago he is familiar with the set up here and will fit into the squad well next season."