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.
Teams finishing in the top three positions can earn the right to host the RaboDirect PRO12 final. The play-off draw gives home draws to the top two teams (1 v 4 and 2 v 3) with the highest ranked survivors after the play-offs earning the right to host a 'home' final.
However, the rules also stipulate that a final venue must have a capacity in excess of 18,000. With the two-year redevelopment of Ravenhill still ongoing, it would not have been possible to host the game at the home of Ulster Rugby this season.
When the work is complete next summer, the capacity at Ravenhill will be 18,200 and the ground will be capable of hosting a RaboDirect PRO12 final or Heineken Cup quarter-final.
If the final is played at the RDS with Ulster designated as the 'home' team, Ulster fans will be entitled to 50% of the tickets for the game in accordance with the rules of the RaboDirect PRO12.
If Ulster finish in first or second place in the RaboDirect PRO12, the province will host a home play-off at Ravenhill.
Commenting on the decision to nominate the RDS as its 'home' venue for a RaboDirect PRO12 final, Ulster Rugby Chief Executive Shane Logan said: "While no one is presuming that Ulster will be in a final, it is important that we and the organisers of the league prepare for every eventuality.
"Our primary focus is to have the two new stands open to welcome our loyal supporters at the start of the 2013/14 season.
"Our build is on time and on budget but it would not have been possible, without significant delay to our redevelopment project, to open the stands on a temporary basis for any potential RaboDirect PRO12 final.
'Therefore, in agreement with Celtic Rugby, we have nominated the RDS, with its capacity of 18,500, as the venue for a final involving Ulster as host team.
'If Ulster do make it to the final, I have no doubt that the RDS will be a fantastic location for the game and I hope that our supporters will travel there in huge numbers to back the team."