NZ Rugby in talks for groundbreaking women's British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand

Kiwi rugby heads could soon be in for another spectacle on home soil, with the prospect of a groundbreaking women's British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.

On Friday, chief executive Mark Robinson confirmed NZ Rugby is in talks with its counterparts in the United Kingdom and Ireland for a potential visit to face the Black Ferns in a three-test series, with some midweek fixtures against provincial unions "right around the country".

"The inaugural women's Lions tour is now something being considered seriously by the home nations," Robinson said. "They are talking about making that possibility real. 

"We're signaling very strongly that we would like to be the host for that tour, with the possibility of three test matches and three to four midweek games as well."

Robinson admitted plenty of work laid ahead with stakeholders and partners to make the tour a reality, but is confident they'll be able to deliver on the groundbreaking concept "sometime in the next few years", at least before the Lions men visit to face the All Blacks in 2029.

The Black Ferns face France on Saturday in the semi-final of the World Cup and although ticket sales have been slow - with less than half of Eden Park's capacity accounted for - the tournament overall has been a success, shining a wider spotlight on the women's game.

Robinson said the timing was right to capitalise on its rapidly rising popularity and give fans outside of Auckland and Whangārei - where the World Cup has been restricted - an opportunity to get in on the action.

"[This tournament] has obviously been magnificent," he noted. "We've had people from all over the place to see us. 

"It'd be great to do another pinnacle event like that quite soon right around the country as well and get more and more people engaged with our amazing Black Ferns and rugby at that level in full stadia."

The proposed midweek games would likely be played against Super Rugby Aupiki sides, with Farah Palmer Cup teams another option.

"It just goes to show how quickly and rapidly the women’s game is growing," Robinson said.

"We've been a major contributor to Lions history for well over 100 years. To think that will now grow and develop with the women’s game is massively exciting."

With England currently ranked the No.1 side in the world, their players would probably make up the majority of the side's composition. Wales, Scotland, and Ireland are both considerably off the pace in comparison to the English and the French in the women's Six Nations.

Scotland failed to record a win at the World Cup, while Ireland missed out on qualification altogether.

Wales advanced past pool play, where they were resoundingly beaten by the Black Ferns in the quarter-finals for the second time in the tournament. 

Robinson said he hoped to be able to provide more details early next year.

Catch the Rugby World Cup live on Spark Sport or free-to-air on Three, or join Newshub from 7:30pm Saturday for live updates of the Black Ferns v France semi-final.