The British and Irish Lions have announced the formation of a 13-person feasibility steering group to explore the possibility of a women’s team.
The group, which will be chaired by former Lions and Wales star Ieuan Evans, includes former Ireland fly-half Niamh Briggs, as well as the IRFU’s director of sevens and women’s rugby Anthony Eddy.
The main goal of the group will be to ascertain whether a women’s Lions team can be formed in the future, with financial viability, suitable opposition and a viable slot in the playing calendar all set to be considered.
Lions managing director Ben Calveley believes a women’s Lions team represents a “huge opportunity” for the sport, but acknowledged that there are several key issues that must first be considered.
Ben Calveley on the possibility of a women’s Lions team.
“We are excited to have put together such a stellar list of individuals who I know will add value to this project,” said Calveley.
“I believe a Women’s Lions team is a huge opportunity, but there are a number of challenges to consider when looking to create a successful women’s set-up.
“Financial viability, suitable opposition and appropriate scheduling in the women’s rugby calendar will all need rigorous analysis, research and careful consideration.
“We are very grateful to be working with a purpose-driven organisation like Royal London on this initiative. Our broader commercial family – including Sky, Vodafone and Canterbury – have also committed to provide their expertise and play an active role in the feasibility analysis.”
We’ve announced the formation of a feasibility steering group which will examine whether a Women’s Lions team can be formed. #LionsRugby
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) October 12, 2021
Royal London are funding the feasibility study.
Insurance firm Royal London first announced that they would be funding a study to examine whether a women’s Lions team could be formed back in March.
Royal London, who were a global partner for the Lions’ tour of South Africa this summer, have said that they aim to “level the playing field” in their goal of seeing a women’s team formed.
While nothing has been confirmed as of yet, the Lions’ announcement is another positive step forward for both women’s rugby and the sport in Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.