Women's Lions' unions get £3m injection ahead of first tour

British insurance firm Royal London has given the rugby unions of England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland £3 million ($3.7 million) to invest in female coaches and players ahead of the British and Irish Lions women's inaugural tour.

The investment aims to ensure the Lions squad is not entirely dominated by England players, given they have won 17 of the past 25 Five or Six Nations titles and are leading this year's edition.

Royal London, Britain's largest mutual life, pensions and investment company, in 2021 launched a feasibility study into the formation of a women's British and Irish Lions team.

The team was established in January, with organisers announcing a tour that will take place in 2027. Reigning world champions New Zealand will host a three-test series.

"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 constituent Unions," Ben Calveley, CEO of the British & Irish Lions, said in a statement.

"Royal London's 'Levelling the Playing Field' grant represents a significant investment into the women's game in the four Unions and will make a positive impact on women's rugby."

The four unions also provided details on how their allocation of the funding will be used.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU), England's governing body said it will use the grant to further develop its 'Player Development Groups,' while Scottish Rugby (SR) will recruit two coaches and deliver additional camps for youth teams.

The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) said it would hire five new members to strengthen their women's pathway coaching staff, while the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) will use the funds to organise additional under-18 and under-20 camps and training matches.

"The 'Levelling the Playing Field' grants we are announcing today further demonstrate our commitment to breaking down barriers and ensuring we're able to support the development of women's rugby at all levels," Royal London group Chief Marketing Officer Susie Logan said.