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.
Speaking about the new deal yesterday when it was announced at a morning press conference in the Berkeley Court Hotel, O'Sullivan expressed surprise at the timing of the news.
"I really thought we'd sit down after the World Cup given that the present contract was due to end in April. But having said that I'm delighted with the news. I think the timing is good and it will help steady the ship before the World Cup.
"I suppose it puts a bit of pressure on because when I go the job I think there was a bit of controversy at the time and I was very keen to prove that I was going to do a good job. Now that I've gotten a boost of confidence from the IRFU, and it's a vote of confidence as well for the management and the players, you want to prove them right again and do another good job for another four years. But the job isn't done yet even at the moment. We still have the World Cup to look at so it's kinda hard today to take your mind off the World Cup even for a moment because we're in training this week. But yes it's great to get this vote of confidence but I've got to get my head down now and get on with the job of the World Cup."
Chief Executive, Philip Browne explained the thinking behind the contract extension saying, " We were looking not only on this World Cup obviously but in fact on the next World Cup (2007). He has a great opportunity now to make an impact not only on the national team for the next World Cup cycle but also to look at the younger players coming through the system and to really make an impact there."