British, Irish Lions announce historic inaugural women's tour to New Zealand in 2027

Posted : 16 January 2024

The British and Irish Lions have unveiled plans for their inaugural women's tour, scheduled for 2027 in New Zealand. The tour, set for September, will feature three Test matches against the reigning world champions, the Black Ferns.


Lions Chair Ieuan Evans and CEO Ben Calveley emphasized the significance of this move in advancing women's rugby and sports in general. The decision follows a comprehensive feasibility study covering various aspects, and the tour already has sponsorship support.


The women's Lions tour marks a historic development, echoing the longstanding tradition of men's Lions tours that have taken place since 1888. The men's tours involve players from England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, rotating among New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia.


New Zealand, a dominant force in women's rugby, winning the past two World Cups, eagerly anticipates hosting the inaugural Lions Women's Tour. The success of the 2022 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand highlights the enthusiasm generated by top-tier women's rugby competitions.


The announcement aligns with the strategic priority of fostering women's rugby growth, a commitment shared by the Lions and their affiliated unions. The tour's scheduling and fixtures, beyond the three Test matches, are yet to be finalized.


Shaunagh Brown, former England international and part of the feasibility studies, expressed the significance of the tour for current players and aspiring young women in the sport, providing an opportunity to aspire to wear the iconic red Lions jersey. The Lions leadership acknowledged the collaboration and support from their four unions in making this groundbreaking move for women's rugby.


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