HomeAustralia and New ZealandBritish and Irish Lions women’s tour details emerge as commercial partners come onboard

British and Irish Lions women’s tour details emerge as commercial partners come onboard

British and Irish Lions women’s tour details emerge as commercial partners come onboard

The British and Irish Lions rugby union team have revealed initial details for their first-ever women’s tour, set to take place in New Zealand.

Scheduled for September 2027, the inaugural series avoids clashing with that year’s men’s Rugby World Cup in Australia and will include three Test matches against the reigning world champions, the Black Ferns, along with pre-Test fixtures.

Through collaborating with key stakeholders such as constituent unions, World Rugby and various leagues, the Lions are actively working on finalising comprehensive tour details, including the schedule.

Royal London, a mutual life, pensions and investment company, has been confirmed as the founding partner of the Lions women’s team and will serve as the front-of-jersey sponsor. The company, which funded the original feasibility study exploring the creation of a women’s touring side, will also invest in player development across the Lions’ constituent unions in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales through a special elite players’ pathways funding grant.

Howden, a global insurance group, will play a pivotal role as the series’ title partner, having previously been named as the front-of-jersey sponsor for the Lions men’s team during the 2025 tour of Australia.

The decision to launch the women’s tour in 2027 stems from a comprehensive feasibility study that explored various aspects, including brand, commercial viability, financial considerations, spectator experience, logistical challenges and scheduling. New Zealand emerged as the preferred destination following a thorough tour host selection process.

Lions’ chief executive Ben Calveley shared insights into the tour’s thought process and commercial expectations.

“We are absolutely expecting it to be commercially sustainable,” said Calveley.

“All of the modelling we did during the feasibility study demonstrated that that should be the case.

“We now have real life evidence and examples that back that up because we have secured two principal partners in Royal London and Howden.

“The good news is that the levels of investment they are putting into the game are beyond those that were anticipated at the feasibility stage. So, we are seeing the commercial appetite for this tour is very high and we are confident that it will be commercially sustainable.

“This is absolutely crucial to us, not just for the Lions, but also for the hosts in New Zealand as well. We want to make sure that this is a tour that adds value to the development of the women’s game and doesn’t compete with other properties or detract from it.”

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