The prospect of a women’s British and Irish Lions tour taking place seems ever closer after the formation of a feasibility steering group.
13 administrators, business executives and former players and coaches have been appointed to a panel with the primary responsibility of initiating, overseeing and contributing towards a feasibility study which will seek to ascertain whether a women’s Lions team could be formed.
From an Irish perspective, former international Niamh Briggs and current IRFU director of sevens and women's rugby Anthony Eddy will be a part of the group. Former Lion Ieuan Evans will act as chair.
The feasibility study will be undertaken by a specialist consulting firm which will be appointed by the steering group. Issues such as money, level of opposition and the place of a potential tour on the rugby calendar are all to be discussed, though no further detail has been offered at this time.
It remains possible then that a women’s tour could take place in a new country and at a different time of the year to the traditional men’s slot.
“We are excited to have put together such a stellar list of individuals who I know will add value to this project,” said Ben Calveley, managing director of the Lions.
“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.”
“Women’s rugby is experiencing unprecedented growth around the world with participation levels continuing to increase every year,” added Ieuan Evans.
“A women’s Lions team is a big opportunity for the women’s game, and I am looking forward to working with the steering group to assess its viability.”