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 cross-border club competition enables teams to regularly field fringe players in a professional competitive environment and this is seen as vital for the future development of rugby in Connacht.
The 32-team tournament comprises of the 'A' teams from the four Irish provinces, the 12 RFU Championship teams, 12 teams from the Welsh Principality Premiership and the top four sides in the Scottish Championship.
This will expose the brightest emerging talent in Connacht to a wide variety of teams in a testing and physical competition designed to hone the skills of future stars.
Pools of four will play against each other in a home and away format and the rounds will be played on the same weekends (but not clashing with) the Heineken Cup which means that the westerners are in for some real European rugby experiences.
The British & Irish Cup will give supporters an opportunity to see some of the future stars of Connach in action and speaking about the buzz surrounding the province at the moment, head coach of the Connacht Eagles, Nigel Carolan, said: "We're delighted to be taking part in the British & Irish Cup for the first time.
"The last four years have really shown how important the competition is for supplying game-time to players at a high level.
"It's a great opportunity for our fringe players to gain exposure at a professional level and we see this as big step forward for Connacht Rugby in the pursuit to develop indigenous players.
"The 'A' interprovincial fixtures have been a good test up until now, and they will continue to provide an excellent platform for gaining experience but the British & Irish Cup gives us more regular rugby against a variety of different sides and that is very important for our continued development."
Connacht Rugby Season Tickets guarantee entry to all of Connacht's home RaboDirect PRO12 matches, all three Heineken Cup pool games and all three British & Irish Cup pool ties.
The early bird prices are still available but this offer ends in less than eight days and supporters are urged to act early to avail of some superb offers.
To purchase a Connacht Rugby Season Ticket, please click here.