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 replacement winger no sooner hit the ground than he was up and running with the rest of the squad at a brisk morning training session.
The 10 times capped Dungannon man said he was delighted to get the call up though not in the circumstances of an injury to another player.
Howe arrived fully match fit, having played in Ulster's last five Celtic League-Cup ties, endorsing coach Eddie O'Sullivan's sensible philosophy of leaving his World Cup shadow squad at home to partake in games, rather than have their stand-by players waiting impatiently in training in Australia for a possible call up.
Further good news for the Ireland camp today - as well as the rare appearance of sustained sunshine - was that Victor Costello returned to full training, having missed selection availability for last Sunday's game against Australia because of a thigh injury.
While Melbourne declared a Holiday in conjunction with the running of the famous Melbourne Cup, the Irish party decided to miss the 100,000-plus attended race meeting.
Instead they took a coach ride into the Yarra Valley and visited the sprawling Domaine Chandon Winery, famous for its Chandon sparkling wines and Green Point still wines.
After a barbeque lunch, the players watched the big race on big screen TV, with Frankie Sheahan and John Kelly drawing the winning horse in the squad sweep.
The Ireland team to play France at the Telstra Dome on Sunday next will be announced tomorrow (Wednesday).