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Historic first-ever Women's British and Irish Lions tour announced

NEWS: New Zealand will host the first ever British & Irish Lions women’s tour in 2027

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Off the back of record-breaking crowds at the World Cup in 2022 and hosting the inaugural WXV1 competition, women’s rugby in New Zealand is set for another major milestone with the first ever British & Irish Lions Women’s Tour confirmed for 2027.

Fans across the country will be treated to the latest chapter of rivalry with the British & Irish Lions when the women’s team faces the Black Ferns in three tests with additional tour matches, host cities and venues to be confirmed.

New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson said the successful bid to host this inaugural tour is another great milestone for women’s rugby in this country.

“Hosting this tour gives our players a pinnacle event that will be a highlight in their career and it provides an aspirational pathway for our emerging players. There is nothing quite like a Lions tour to engage and excite fans. We think this will have a unique flavour, a freshness and excitement to it like we saw during the Rugby World Cup.

“We will be taking this tour around the country; it will genuinely be something that all kiwis can get behind and get excited about. As we anticipate the continued growth of the women’s game globally, we are going to see these teams bringing to life an amazing tour,” said Robinson.

The British & Irish Lions will continue to collaborate with all key stakeholders, including its constituent Unions, World Rugby, and the various leagues to finalise full Tour details including the Tour schedule. The inaugural Test match Series will take place in September 2027 during the women’s global competition window and will not overlap with the men’s World Cup 2027.

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This announcement follows a feasibility study funded by Lions Founding Partner Royal London, which concluded that the optimum time for the Tour is 2027. The feasibility study also investigated all key aspects of creating a Lions Women’s Tour with a consultation process exploring brand, commercial, financial, spectator, logistical, and scheduling considerations.

The feasibility study was followed by a Tour host selection process with New Zealand emerging as the preferred Tour destination. Further details associated with the Tour are set to be announced in due course.

British & Irish Lions CEO Ben Calveley said supporting the growth of the women’s game is a key strategic priority for the organisation.

“Significant effort has gone into exploring the concept of a Lions Women’s Tour and great credit needs to go to the members of our steering committee, our board, and our staff.

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“Playing three Test matches against the current world champions, the Black Ferns in New Zealand in front of thousands of fans represents the ultimate challenge and makes for a fantastic sporting spectacle. We look forward to working with all our stakeholders including New Zealand Rugby to finalise an exciting inaugural Tour.”

Source @nzrugby

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