By Paul Jones
Wales legend Ieuan Evans will lead a new group tasked with the aim of looking into the feasibility of a Women’s British & Irish Lions team.
The creation of a Women’s Lions team could provide a big opportunity for Wales players such as ‘try machine’ Jasmine Joyce, who represented Great Britain in rugby sevens at the recent Tokyo Olympics.
The 13-person group will be chaired by Evans, and is made up of experienced administrators from across professional rugby, business executives, as well as former international standard athletes from the world of sport.
Hannah John, who is the WRU women’s high-performance lead, is also part of the group.
The primary responsibility of the newly formed group will be to initiate, oversee and contribute towards a feasibility study which will seek to ascertain whether a Women’s Lions team could be formed.
“Women’s rugby is experiencing unprecedented growth around the world with participation levels continuing to increase every year,” explained Evans, who played in three Lions tours between 1989 and 1997.
“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.”
Ben Calveley, British & Irish Lions managing director, echoes those thoughts and believes this could be the start of a big opportunity for the women’s game.
“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.”
The study is being funded by Lions Global Partner, Royal London, who are also the inaugural ‘Principal Partner’ of the Women’s Lions programme.
Commenting on the announcement, Susie Logan, Group Chief Marketing Officer at Royal London, said:
“We are committed to levelling the playing field in sport and we’re delighted to be supporting this important study to understand if the creation of a British & 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.”