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.
Shannon have made a business-like start to the defence of their AIB League Division One title, but irishrugby.ie users reckon the Limerick giants might not have it all their own way this season.
In our most recent poll, which attracted 1237 votes, we asked you: "Who will win this season's AIB League Division One title?"
The results made for interesting reading. Mick Galwey's Shannon side, 42-13 conquerors of St Mary's on Saturday, did poll 28% (347 votes), but the "Other" option came home a clear winner showing that most observers expect seven-time champions Shannon, who saw 12 players depart the Thomond Park scene in the summer, to face a fierce battle to hold onto their top flight crown.
"Other", any of the following clubs: UCD, Garryowen, Blackrock College, Buccaneers, Dungannon, Galwegians, County Carlow, Dublin University, UL Bohemians, Cork Con, St Mary's College and Lansdowne, was favoured by 489 users, gaining a total of 39%.
Clontarf, beaten semi-finalists last season and 34-20 winners over Dublin University in their 2005/06 opener, finished third on 12% (150), Belfast Harlequins, who were beaten by Shannon in last May's final, claimed 11% (146), while Steph Nel's Ballymena, who were defeated 33-17 by Lansdowne on Saturday, finished fifth with 8% (105).