The British & Irish Lions has announced the formation of a Women’s Lions feasibility steering group. Ireland is represented by former Irish International and Munster Coach, Niamh Briggs, as well as by IRFU Director of Women’s Rugby Anthony Eddy.
The group also contains a healthy mix of Rugby executives and business leaders with representatives from each of three major Lions partners in Sky, Vodafone and Royal London.
Briggs and Shaunagh Brown are included in the 13 strong group as the player representatives and it will be led by Lions Board member and three-time Lions player Ieuan Evans.
the full group is as follows:
- Ieuan Evans MBE (Chair) – 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 MBE – 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 (acting), Welsh Rugby Union
- Nicky Ponsford – women’s high-performance manager, World Rugby
- Shaunagh Brown – senior player, Harlequins Women and England
- Niamh Briggs – senior player, Munster and Ireland, club coach and Garda Síochána (Police) Officer
Their primary responsibility will be to initiate, oversee and contribute towards a feasibility study that will seek to ascertain whether a Women’s Lions team could be formed.
The study is being funded by Lions Global Partner, Royal London, who are also the inaugural ‘Principal Partner’ of the Women’s Lions programme.
It will be undertaken by a specialist consulting firm which will be appointed by the steering group.
“We are excited to have put together such a stellar list of individuals who I know will add value to this project, said Ben 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.”
“Women’s rugby is experiencing unprecedented growth around the world with participation levels continuing to increase every year,” added Evans
“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.”
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