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British and Irish Lions confirm first women's Tour to take place in 2027

British and Irish Lions have revealed plans for women's team with three-Test tour to New Zealand in 2027; New Zealand are reigning world champions, beating England in last two finals; next men's Lions tour to be in Australia in 2025 with Andy Farrell named head coach

British and Irish Lions women tour
Image: The first ever women's British and Irish Lions team will head on a Tour of New Zealand in 2027

The British and Irish Lions have confirmed plans for a first women's tour - which will send a team to New Zealand for a three-Test series in 2027.

New Zealand are the current world champions but England, who would supply the bulk of any touring party, top the global rankings with Black Ferns in second.

New Zealand have defeated England in the previous two World Cup finals, triumphing 41-32 in Belfast in 2017 and then 34-31 in Auckland in November 2022.

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 Rugby World Cup 2027.

Ben Calveley, CEO British & Irish Lions, said: "Supporting the growth of the women's game is a key strategic priority for The British & Irish Lions as it is for each of our Unions.

"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.

"In particular, I want to recognise the collaboration of our four Unions and thank them for their continued support and the level of commitment they have shown throughout this journey.

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Image: The Red Roses are expected to make up the majority of the playing group

"I would also like to thank World Rugby for the reforms to regulation 9 which makes this Tour possible in 2027.

"We are also very grateful to all the clubs as well as wider stakeholders who have all been very supportive and accommodating during this process.

"We look forward to collaborating further with all stakeholders over the coming months to finalise plans for this historic Tour.

British and Irish Lions women's tour
Image: England's Shaunagh Brown, Scot Megan Gaffney, Wales' Elinor Snowsill and Niamh Briggs of Ireland helped launch the Lions' women's team

"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." 

Mark Robinson, New Zealand Rugby CEO added: "When the opportunity arose to be part of history and have the honour of hosting the inaugural British & Irish Lions Women's Tour, we knew we wanted to be part of it.

"Women's rugby is growing at pace in New Zealand and following the success of the Rugby World Cup in 2022, we know the excitement world class competition can generate.

"There will be anticipation around the country about the prospect of hosting the Lions and we look forward to announcing venues and match schedules in the future.

"The Lions and New Zealand have a long and storied history in the men's game, and we cannot wait to help write a new chapter in the rivalry - this time between the Lions Women and the Black Ferns."

The next men's Lions tour is to Australia in 2025 with Andy Farrell announced as head coach.

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