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.
Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll has spoken of his commitment to Leinster "for the foreseeable future", following recent speculation linking him with a move to France.
The Lions skipper has been publicly courted by French club Biarritz Olympique in recent weeks. O'Driscoll was a guest at Biarritz's French Championship fixture against Stade Francais last month.
Biarritz club president Marcel Martin did little to disperse the growing fears that O'Driscoll will embark on a Gallic experiment when his current contract with the IRFU ends in June.
"Brian O'Driscoll recently came to Biarritz," remarked Martin on the club website.
"For some time we have had discussions with him and his agents. He admitted his wish to play somewhere else other than in Ireland as from June 2006 and preferably in France. If that is the case, he would go preferably to Biarritz, then Toulouse and after that maybe Paris, although he wants to move away from the pressure of the large cities."
O'Driscoll played down the transfer talk at Monday's Heineken Cup launch, saying: "I haven't been in any contract negotiations with anyone.
"As far as I am concerned, I am a Leinster player for the foreseeable future. Any comments that have been made have not been on my behalf.
"It is an ongoing process about where I want to be and what I want to do. I have this shoulder injury to get over, and that is taking up most of my concentration.
"I want to get back and become a stronger, fitter, faster player. The challenge for me is to try to pick up from where I left off."
O'Driscoll is definitely out of next month's autumn Test series, but is on course to feature in Leinster's final two Heineken Cup pool games in January.
Leinster coach Michael Cheika, speaking at yesterday's press conference ahead of the province's first outing at the RDS on Saturday, is not expecting O'Driscoll to be back to full fitness "until December at the earliest," adding that his star centre's recuperation was "still on track."
O'Driscoll was in St Stephen's Green on Wednesday to help launch the Gillette M3Power Coaching Clinic, which takes place on December 7.
Along with a host of other players, O'Driscoll will train up to 100 lucky players ar the clinic. The 26-year-old is pictured above with some schools players from Saint Paul's, Raheny and King's Hospital.