The British & Irish Lions have established a Women's feasibility Steering Group, including Irish chief Anthony Eddy and former player Niamh Briggs.
The 13-person group will be chaired by former British & Irish Lion, Ieuan Evans, and is made up of administrators from across professional rugby, business executives with a history in sponsoring rugby, as well as former international sportspeople.
The newly-formed group will initiate, oversee and contribute towards a feasibility study which will seek to ascertain whether a women’s Lions team could be formed.
The study will be undertaken by a specialist consulting firm which will be appointed by the Steering Group.
The group consists of:
- Ieuan Evans - British & Irish Lion and The British & Irish Lions Board Member
- Ben Calveley - Managing Director, The British & Irish Lions
- Susie Logan - Group Chief Marketing Officer, Royal London
- Joanna Manning-Cooper - Group Director of Corporate Affairs, Sky
- Max Taylor - Consumer Director, Vodafone
- Simon Rowe - Head of Global Sports Marketing, Canterbury
- Sue Day - Chief Operating & Financial Officer, RFU and RFU Board, Rugby Football Union
- Anthony Eddy - Director of Sevens and Women's Rugby, Irish Rugby Football Union
- Gemma Fay - Head of Girls & Women's Strategy, Scottish Rugby
- Hannah John - Women's High-Performance Lead, Welsh Rugby Union
- Nicky Ponsford - Women's High-Performance Manager, World Rugby
- Shaunagh Brown - Harlequins and England international
- Niamh Briggs - Munster and Ireland international
Evans sees a female team as a growth area: "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."
Ben Calveley, the British & Irish Lions managing director, 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.
"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."