12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
The Tipperary man retired from rugby in 2007 and has since made rapid progress as a referee, from local level onto the international stage.
Lacey is a regular match official in the Magners League and European competitions and had assistant referee appointments in Rome and Edinburgh during this year's RBS 6 Nations.
The 37-year-old was a late call-up for the injured Greg Garner at the 2010 IRB Junior World Championship in Argentina and his impressive command saw him appointed to referee the semi-final between New Zealand and South Africa.
The premier international age grade tournament is a proven environment to test the skills of the very best in developing refereeing talent with New Zealand's Chris Pollock, France's Jérôme Garces and Carlo Damasco of Italy graduating from the 2009 tournament to be appointed assistant referees at this year's Rugby World Cup.
The class of 2011 includes features 12 officials who have impressed at other IRB tournaments and domestic or cross border club competitions.
The the full referees ranel is: JP Doyle (England), Greg Garner (England), Leighton Hodges (Wales), John Lacey (Ireland), Francisco Pastrana (Argentina), Neil Paterson (Scotland), Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Mathieu Raynal (France) and Jonathon White (New Zealand). The Assistant Referees are Carlo Damasco (Italy), Marius Mitrea (Italy) and João Mourinha (Portugal).
The panel provides a blend of experience and newcomers with four officials - Doyle, Lacey, Pastrana and Peyper - returning to officiate at their second successive IRB Junior World Championship.
IRB Referee Manager Paddy O'Brien said: "It has been particularly pleasing in recent years to see the likes of Keith Brown, Andrew Small, Chris Pollock and Jérôme Garces graduate from the IRB Junior World Championship to win selection for the IRB High Performance match official panel.
"Officiating in international tournaments provides exposure to a best practice environment that furthers the development of our most talented young referees and provides us with an opportunity to identify and nurture the next group of Test officials."
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