The British & Irish Lions have announced the formation of a historic partnership with Premiership Rugby and the United Rugby Championship ahead of the 2025 Lions Tour to Australia.
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The strategic partnership has taken shape between the three organisations, with a focus on the 2025 Tour to Australia, and the upcoming impact on the playing schedule. This agreement sees all selected British and Irish Lions players to take part in ‘pre-tour activities’.
The British and Irish Lions put in a statement:
“The strategic partnership has been formed following a period of consultation between all parties and demonstrates a commitment from the different parts of the rugby eco-system to work together for the good of the game.
“The partnership will see the Lions working collaboratively with Premiership Rugby, the United Rugby Championship, and their clubs to enhance the Tour’s offering. A critical aspect of the partnership is alignment on the Tour schedule and this agreement will now enable all selected British & Irish Lions players to be available for all pre-tour activities.
“The partnership will also facilitate a collaborative approach to digital content, events and key announcements, as well as other marketing and promotional activities.”
Ben Calveley, British & Irish Lions CEO, said, “We are thrilled to be working in partnership with Premiership Rugby and United Rugby Championship and want to thank them for their support in reaching this landmark agreement. Our relationship with the clubs, who are the guardians of all potential Lions, is critical to any success we have, and we are committed to working with Premiership Rugby and United Rugby Championship in a spirit of collaboration.
“It is crucial that this agreement benefits not just The British & Irish Lions but also Premiership Rugby and United Rugby Championship. Our ambition is to make 2025 the greatest Lions Tour ever and we believe the opportunities for collaboration across marketing, promotional and wider activity will add significant value to all organisations.”
leuan Evans, Chairperson of The British & Irish Lions Board, added “The 2025 Tour to Australia is one of the most eagerly anticipated tours in history. As we reflect on recent challenges in our game, including the pandemic and its impact on rugby, now is a crucial time to demonstrate our unity and ability to collaborate in order to showcase the best of what our game has to offer.
“Australia in 2025 represents a significant opportunity to claim our first Lions Series win since 2013 and as with any Lions tour, it will be difficult. To achieve our ambition of success on the pitch, we need our very best players, and this partnership is crucial to this.”
Simon Massie-Taylor, Premiership Rugby CEO, said: “We know how much The British & Irish Lions means to our players, our clubs and our fans. And we are incredibly excited about this new landmark partnership and the opportunity to work in true collaboration with the Lions ahead of their tour to Australia in 2025.
“Everyone at Premiership Rugby understands how crucial it is to work closely with all stakeholders for the game to continue to thrive and grow. And giving our players and The British & Irish Lions the best possible preparation time in history is vital for both the Lions and Premiership Rugby as we support each other on and off the pitch.
“As a league, we are also looking forward to combining with the Lions to create some new and exciting content to promote the Tour, our players and clubs.
“We are now looking forward to seeing as many Premiership Rugby players as possible competing for a Test jersey and hopefully experience being on a winning tour.”
Martin Anayi, CEO, United Rugby Championship: “Throughout the professional era our league has been home to an extraordinary number of British & Irish Lions and we are always proud to give our players the best chance of pulling on that famous red jersey. For every tour in the professional era our league has always supported the Lions and their touring schedule because their continued success will always help grow interest in our sport.
“The upcoming British & Irish Lions Tour will see new levels of collaboration between all of our organisations to celebrate what is a landmark moment in the rugby calendar. It is a valuable opportunity to really grab the attention of the wider sporting audience while also bringing our most dedicated fans closer to the stories of their heroes than ever before.
“We look forward to the tour to Australia in 2025 and watching players from the United Rugby Championship excel in the colours of The British & Irish Lions.”
The England team were dubbed ‘Dad’s Army’ by the rest of the world (mainly Australians) but everyone secretly knew England coach Clive Woodward had the best side around.