The women’s game is experiencing unprecedented growth with participation levels on the up and organisers see this as an opportunity to further grow the sport
Fay, Head of Girls & Women’s Strategy at Scottish Rugby, will be part of a 13-person Women’s Lions feasibility Steering Group.
It will be chaired by Ieuan Evans, the Wales great and British & Irish Lion, and is made up of players, administrators from professional rugby and business figures. Fay herself is a former Scotland football international who played over 200 times for the national team as a goalkeeper.
A statement from the Lions said: “The primary responsibility of the newly formed group will be to initiate, oversee and contribute towards a feasibility study which 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.
“The study will be undertaken by a specialist consulting firm which will be appointed by the Steering Group.”
Ben Calveley, the British & Irish Lions managing director who is part of the steering group, said: “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.”
Evans added: “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.”
Susie Logan, Group Chief Marketing Officer at Royal London who is also on the steering group, said: “We are committed to levelling the playing field in sport and we’re delighted to be supporting this important study to understand if the creation of a British & Irish Lions team for women will be possible.
“We want to support a society that is inclusive and benefits everyone, and this partnership with the Lions is a great opportunity to grow women’s rugby.”
Women’s Lions feasibility Steering Group:
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