The possibility of setting up a British and Irish Lions women’s team is to be looked at by a new feasibility group.
England international Shaunagh Brown and Ireland’s Niamh Briggs will form part of the 13-strong panel.
It will be chaired by former Wales and Lions wing Ieuan Evans, now a Lions board member.
“Women’s rugby is experiencing unprecedented growth around the world, with participation levels continuing to increase every year,” Evans said.
“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.”
World Rugby’s women’s high performance manager Nicky Ponsford is also part of the group, as are Gemma Fay, Scottish Rugby’s head of girls and women’s strategy, and Sue Day, the Rugby Football Union’s chief operating and financial officer.
The steering team will initiate a feasibility study to be oversees by a specialist consulting group.
“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,” said Lions managing director and steering group member Ben Calveley.
“Financial viability, suitable opposition and appropriate scheduling in the women’s rugby calendar will all need rigorous analysis, research and careful consideration.”