British and Irish Lions women’s tour ‘is possible’

An inaugural British and Irish Lions women’s tour remains on track after a feasibility study delivered positive initial findings.

The study investigated key aspects of creating a women’s Lions tour, exploring rugby, brand, commercial, financial, spectator, logistical and scheduling considerations.

Work will continue on areas such as the potential structure and timing of a tour before any final decision is made.

“Based on the outcome of these discussions and critical considerations being successfully addressed, a final decision can be made on whether the proposed tour can proceed,” read a Lions statement.

Lions chief executive Ben Calveley added: “It is extremely positive that a British and Irish Lions women’s tour is possible in the future.

“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 and 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.”

A 13-member steering group, chaired by former Lions and Wales wing Ieuan Evans, also included Calveley, the Rugby Football Union’s chief operating and financial officer Sue Day, Irish Rugby Union performance director David Nucifora, plus World Rugby’s high performance manager Nicky Ponsford.

Evans said: “We are really encouraged by the initial findings of this feasibility study.

Ieuan Evans
Ieuan Evans chaired a group that looked at the possibility of a British and Irish Lions women’s tour (Jacob King/PA)

“We know there is significant support for the concept of creating a Lions women’s team, and this is an important step along the way to exploring how that can be made a reality.

“Great progress has been made to this point, and a lot of work remains to be done.”

The feasibility study was funded by Royal London, principal partner of the Lions women’s programme.