The British & Irish Lions have completed a feasibility study exploring the potential for a Lions women's tour, with initial findings indicating that such a tour is viable. The study was conducted over a two-year period by a 13-member steering group consisting of rugby administrators, business executives, and former players. The group examined various aspects of creating a Lions women's tour, including financial viability, potential opposition, and scheduling in the women's rugby calendar.
The 13-member steering group was headed by British & Irish Lion, Ieuan Evans and included Ireland's Niamh Briggs and Anthony Eddy.
Following the completion of the study, the British & Irish Lions and its constituent unions are considering various factors, including the potential structure and timing of a tour. While it is unlikely that a women's tour would follow the same format or itenary as that of their male counterparts, France or New Zealand are being considered as the first possible locations for a tour, given the strength of the women's game in those countries.
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) February 28, 2023
Ben Calveley, CEO of the British & Irish Lions, expressed enthusiasm for the feasibility study's findings and committed to working with the unions and other stakeholders to explore the possibility of a Lions women's tour further. He thanked World Rugby, the four unions from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, as well as Royal London and Two Circles, for their support and contributions to the study.
“It is extremely positive that a British & Irish Lions women’s tour is possible in the future,” said Ben Calveley, Chief Executive Officer of the British & Irish Lions.
“While there is much to be considered, we are committed to taking the findings of this feasibility study and working closely with our unions as well as other stakeholders in the coming months.”
“I would like to thank World Rugby, our four unions from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales for their ongoing support. There has been a strong level of collaboration since the beginning of this process, and we are all united behind exploring this project fully.”
“I would also like to thank our Principal Partner, Royal London, for their continued support and Two Circles, for conducting the feasibility study.”
All good to have the first women’s British and Irish Lions tour, but the strength of the Red Roses can’t be ignored here 😬
A team that won 30 test matches on the beat, it’s hard to imagine a “fair split” of players - huge dominance from the Red Roses 🌹
Also… opposition? 😬
— Stella Mills 🏉 (@stellamills__) February 28, 2023
Ieuan Evans, Chairman of the Lions Board, member of the WRU Board, and Chair of the Lions Women's Steering Group, echoed Calveley's sentiments, stating that the initial findings were encouraging and that significant progress had been made toward creating a Lions women's team. Susie Logan, Group Chief Marketing Officer at Royal London, the principal partner of the Lions women's program, expressed excitement about the feasibility study's findings and the potential to develop a compelling Lions women's tour.