Representing the British & Irish Lions is the ultimate dream for every single rugby player growing up. All Home Nations players work tirelessly to realise that dream every four years. Since 2001, the Rugby Players Association (RPA) has had the great honour of collectively representing the British & Irish Lions (Lions) players in negotiations with both the Lions Executive and the players' primary employers. We take great pride in the small part we play in helping players to realise the chance of that dream.
We are therefore delighted by today’s announcement that player release terms have been agreed between Premiership Rugby Ltd (PRL) and the Lions. What is fundamental to us is the fact that no player should lose out on a career dream due to no fault of their own and our sincere thanks go to PRL for supporting the players, despite the very challenging circumstances.
Every single English-based player recognises and values the ultimate role the clubs play in making The Gallagher Premiership one of the best rugby environments in the world, and they all owe a huge debt of gratitude to their clubs in helping the players achieve and further their international ambitions. For all Home Nations players, The British & Irish Lions is the ultimate shirt in rugby.
At a time when players, clubs and Unions have worked tirelessly together to emerge from the global pandemic that has threatened the very fabric of the game, today’s announcement must pave the way to a long term solution for future Lions tours. This must recognise that the players, clubs and provinces, as well as the Unions, are partners in this unique sporting institution and are treated accordingly. We now all look forward to supporting the British & Irish Lions playing the reigning World Champions in South Africa later this summer.