After years of limited preparation, the British & Irish Lions are set to have an extended lead-up time ahead of their 2025 trip to Australia.
Members from England-based squads will now participate in all pre-tour activities, thanks to a slight rescheduling of the Premiership final, aiming to bolster the Lions’ prospects.
Prior tours have been marred by disputes regarding player availability, notably with the Premiership final coinciding with the opening tour game in both 2017 and 2021. However, a recent agreement has been reached to foster better coordination among the Lions, Premiership, and the United Rugby Championship. The 2024-25 Premiership final is now slated for June 14, aiming to alleviate scheduling conflicts.
The 2017 tour of New Zealand saw players reach three days before the opening game while the 2021 tour preparation was also marred as their warm-up game against Japan clashed with the Premiership final.
Lions chief executive Ben Calveley thanked the boards for the support.
“We’re thrilled to be working in partnership with Premiership Rugby and United Rugby Championship and want to thank them for their support in reaching this agreement,” said Calveley.
“Our relationship with the clubs 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.”
Premiership Rugby’s chief executive Simon Massie-Taylor said the decision was straightforward considering the importance of Lions tours.
“Everyone at Premiership Rugby understands how crucial it is to work closely with all stakeholders for the game to continue to thrive and grow.
"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.”