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.
The quartet follow in the footsteps of the likes of Fionn Carr, Matthew D'Arcy, Ross McCarron, Conor McInerney, Kevin McLaughlin, Sean O'Brien, James Power, Jonathan Sexton, Devin Toner and Cillian Willis who all graduated in recent years.
Overseen by Leinster Academy manager Colin McEntee, in conjunction with Caroline Keane (Academy administrator) and Daniel Tobin and Tom Turner (Academy fitness coaches), the programme encompasses a three-year supplementary course in modules such as: rugby technical, tactical, generic, fitness, lifestyle and psychological skills.
Leinster Rugby acknowledged the continued support of those conducting the modules over the course of the diploma ranging from Leinster and IRFU staff, together with outside professionals specific to each module.
Frank Sowman, Chairman of the Leinster Academy Board, commented: "The Diploma in Professional Rugby is a very important part of the Leinster Academy programme.
"Through our association with HETAC, it enables Leinster Rugby to conduct a course, culminating in a diploma, which is specifically designed to prepare for all aspects of professional sport.
"We are delighted that four more of our Academy players have received their diplomas today and we wish them every success."