British and Irish Lions move forward with women’s team after ‘positive feedback’

The British and Irish Lions are moving forward with a women’s team after ‘positive feedback’ from players, unions, sponsors and broadcasters… and they could face world champions New Zealand on their first tour

  • Women’s Lions team seen as next logical step after World Cup success
  • President Ieuan Evans said the women’s tour can be completely separated from the men’s tour
  • Talks now focus on venue and opposition for first Lions women’s tour

A first women’s tour of the British and Irish Lions is soon arriving on the world rugby landscape with talks now centering on venue and opposition as the women’s game continues to grow exponentially.

Following this year’s hugely successful World Cup in New Zealand – where the hosts ended England’s 30-match unbeaten streak to lift the trophy – putting together a Lions team is seen as next. logical step.

Lions chairman Ieuan Evans insisted there was no need for a cross-border women’s team – which would be made up of players from England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland – runs at the same time and in the same place as the men’s team. The next Lions men’s tour is scheduled for Australia in 2025.

Lions women’s team seen as logical next step after Women’s World Cup success

“I chaired the Women’s Lions Feasibility Study. A recommendation was sent to the board and it was accepted,” Evans said.

“These discussions are ongoing but they are very positive. The feedback and responses we have received from players and unions, sponsors and broadcasters have been excellent.

“Look at the Women’s World Cup. Talk about transformation and inspiration. The quality of rugby was excellent. It really is an opportunity for us.

“It’s a matter of when and finding a niche. Why wouldn’t the Lions, who are such a totemic entity, have a women’s team?

Talks are now centered on a venue and opposition for a first female British and Irish Lions tour

“There is the appetite and the quality and now it is literally about finding a place for him in the calendar”

The Lions men’s team tours Australia, New Zealand and South Africa on four-year cycles. Given the respective strength of the women’s teams in these countries, it would make sense for the Lions to face world champions Black Ferns as their first stop. France could also be a potential and logical opposition.

A potential downside of a Lions women’s team is that, as things stand, they would likely be dominated by England professional players. Wales, Ireland and Scotland are still trying to reach this level but are progressing from their former amateur status.

Lions president Ieuan Evans said the women's circuit can be completely separated from the men's circuit.

Lions president Ieuan Evans said the women’s circuit can be completely separated from the men’s circuit.

“The one thing about female Lions is that they have to find their own path. Lions have embraced her uniqueness and enjoyed being different from everyone else,” Evans said.

“Female Lions should also accept being different. She does not need to follow that of men. It can do it in its own way and there is interest from the host countries.

“There is a lot of excitement in hosting a female Lion. There is significant value to this. That’s what Lions do. It has an imprint far beyond its geographical limits.

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