The formation of a British and Irish Lions women’s team has potentially moved a step closer with the announcement of a 13-strong feasibility group.
Chaired by former Lions star and current Lions board member Ieuan Evans, the group includes experienced administrators from across professional rugby and business executives.
Joining Evans will be the likes of Sky’s corporate affairs director Joanna Manning-Cooper, the Rugby Football Union’s chief operating and financial officer Sue Day, Scottish Rugby’s head of girls and women’s strategy Gemma Fay, World Rugby’s women’s high performance manager Nicky Ponsford and Ireland international Niamh Briggs.
The steering team will initiate a feasibility study to be oversees by a specialist consulting group.
Lions managing director and steering group member Ben Calveley said: “We are excited to have put together such a stellar list of individuals who I know will add value to this project.
“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.”
And Evans added: “Women’s rugby is experiencing unprecedented growth around the world, with participation levels continuing to increase every year.
“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.”
The study will be supported by Royal London, whose group chief marketing officer Susie Logan said: “We are committed to levelling the playing field in sport.
“And we are delighted to be supporting this important study to understand if the creation of a British and Irish Lions team for women will be possible.
“We want to support a society that is inclusive and benefits everyone, and this partnership with the Lions is a great opportunity to grow women’s rugby.”