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.
An Ireland Under-19 'A' side takes on the Australians at Donnybrook this coming Saturday (kick-off 2.00pm). Tickets for the Ravenhill match are on sale now and can be purchased from the Ravenhill Offices or online at www.ulsterrugby.ie - tickets are priced at Stg#7 for adults, #5 concession for OAPs and students, with children priced at only #3!
HEINEKEN CUP HALF CENTURY FOR HUMPHS: David Humphreys is homing in on a Heineken Cup double - 50 tournament appearances and 500 tournament points this weekend. The Ireland fly-half is set to join the ERC "Elite 50" Club this Saturday when he takes the field for his 50th Heineken Cup appearance for Ulster against Saracens at Vicarage Road. Afterwards he will be formally presented with an embroidered "50" cap. Former team mate Gary Longwell is the only other Ulster player to so far achieve that number of appearances in the competition.
If he kicks six points or more in London, Humphreys, 34, will join only four other players in the history of the Heineken Cup to have scored 500 points plus.
ERC ELITE 50 CAPS: 69 - Anthony Foley (Munster), 60 - Fabien Pelous (Dax 5, Toulouse 55), 59 - Chris Wyatt (Llanelli Scarlets), 57 - Victor Costello (Leinster), Christian Labit (Toulouse), Shane Byrne (Leinster 55, Saracens 2), 56 - John Hayes (Munster), 55 - Robin McBryde (Llanelli Scarlets), Graham Rowntree (Leicester Tigers), 54 - John Kelly (Munster), Yannick Bru (Toulouse), 53 - Peter Stringer (Munster), 52 - Ronan O'Gara (Munster), 51 - Martin Johnson (Leicester Tigers), Anthony Horgan (Munster), 50 - Gary Longwell (Ulster), Reggie Corrigan (Leinster).
ERC ELITE 500 POINTS: 671 - Ronan O'Gara (Munster), 645 - Diego Dominguez (Milan 64, Stade Frangais Paris 581), 564 - Stephen Jones (Llanelli Scarlets 550, ASM Clermont Auvergne 14), 502 - Neil Jenkins (Pontypridd 264, Cardiff 212, Celtic Warriors 26).
IWRFU LAUNCH SIX NATIONS TICKETS RAFFLE: The IWRFU (Irish Women's Rugby Football Union) has launched its annual fund-raising campaign by once again giving rugby gans the chance to win 2 Granstand tickets to each of Ireland's men's home RBS Six Nations matches, whilst also supporting women's rugby.
Raffle tickets are only 5 and are available from representatives of all women's club sides throughout the country during the festive period. You can also buy them directly from the IWRFU by sending a cheque or money order for the appropriate amount, complete with your name, address and phone number to: IWRFU Treasurer Rohan West at PO Box 417, Limerick. Further details can be obtained from Rohan at email@example.com.
This is a major fund-raising drive by the IWRFU, with all clubs benefiting from the raffle and proceeds going to help fund the on-going development of women's rugby in Ireland.
IRISH-QUALIFIED MAGUIRE SIGNS FOR WORCESTER: Worcester Warriors, Connacht's Challenge Cup Pool Five rivals, have reacted quickly to plug the gap left by the retirement of Ben Hinshelwood by signing 23 year-old wing/centre Mike Maguire from Otago.
Maguire, interestingly, holds an Irish passport and qualifies to play for Ireland. Expected to link up with Worcester, for whom former Leinster hooker Gavin Hickie signed for last month, Maguire has penned a deal which will keep him at the Sixways Stadium until the end of the current season.
BAA-BAAS CLASSIC ON GOOGLE VIDEO: Remember the Barbarians v New Zealand clash at the Cardiff Arms Park in 1973? Remember how hopeless the Haka was and "that try" by Gareth Edwards? Well, fortunately for those of us not yet born back then, a kind rugby fan (Paul English) has loaded up the entire match onto the Google Video website. It's fascinating look back at how rugby (and players' physiques) have changed - the Edwards try, complimented by Cliff Morgan's excellent commentary, is about four minutes in.
Just copy the following link into your address bar: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3006034587463880114& amp;pl=3006034587463880114
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