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.
Following the huge success of RTE's coverage of the Six Nations tournament in 2007, this year RTE Sport will continue to deliver comprehensive coverage of the tournament across all of its platforms. RTE's extensive coverage of the 2008 Six Nations includes:
RTE Television's coverage of the Six Nations has gone from strength-to-strength with viewership for the tournament increasing by 85% since 2004. Last year's coverage on RTE Two attracted the highest ever Irish audiences for the championship.
A peak of 1.2 million viewers tuned in to see live coverage of Ireland's historic 43-13 victory over England at Croke Park making it the most watched sports event of 2007 and the second most watched television programme of the year overall.
Glen Killane, RTE's Group Head of Sport, said: "The RBS 6 Nations championship is one of the Irish public's favourite sporting events and RTE is once again delighted to offer the public such a comprehensive range of coverage across all of our platforms. Audiences for the tournament on RTE Television have grown by 85% since 2004, bearing testament to the strength of the tournament and RTE's commitment to the very best in production standards."
RTE's unrivalled team of presenters and panellists will be providing their expert analysis and opinion at every stage of the tournament. On RTE Two television, anchorman Tom McGurk will be joined by George Hook, Brent Pope and Conor O'Shea with Tracy Piggott reporting from the sidelines and commentary by Ryle Nugent, Tony Ward, George Hamilton, Ralph Keyes, Tony Clement and Gary Moran live on RTE Two television.
Strengthening RTE's renowned rugby team even further this season will be a number of new faces. Former Irish Internationals Shane Byrne and David Corkery will be joining the team of analysts for 'Against The Head' and for live coverage of Ireland's Under-20 and Club International matches.
RTE Radio Sport will have full coverage and top quality analysis of all of Ireland's matches with commentary from Michael Corcoran and former Irish international Donal Lenihan, as well as reports from every other Six Nations match. Former internationals Jim Glennon, Emmett Byrne and David Humphreys will also be on hand to provide analysis, insight and reaction. All of RTE Radio's commentary will be streamed live on http://www.rte.ie/ worldwide, on FM, LW 252 and RTE Digital Radio Sport.
Further to the RTE Television's extensive live coverage of the tournament, Tom McGurk will also present an hour-long late night highlights programme after each of Ireland's matches.
There will also be live coverage of the Ireland U-20s' clashes against Italy and Wales, and the Club International against Scotland, as well as an extended hour long 'Against The Head', the weekly rugby magazine programme, throughout the championship on Mondays at 7.30pm on RTE Two.