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.
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne said: "There has been a huge amount of work behind the scenes over the last number of weeks by all parties to find a solution and we can now look forward with cautious optimism that an agreement may be signed to secure the long term future of the competition.
"This is important news for the game on a global level but most importantly for rugby in Ireland. The importance of the competition to the professional game and in turn its influence on all over levels of the sport cannot be underestimated.
"The work of the International Rugby Board (IRB) and its Chairman, Dr Syd Millar cannot be overlooked in bringing all the parties to this point and hopefully we will have an agreement in place as soon as possible."