British and Irish Lions confirm busy 2017 tour of New Zealand
Ten fixtures await the tourists as they go in search of a first series win against the All Blacks since 1971
The British and Irish Lions have confirmed they will play 10 matches on their 2017 tour of New Zealand.
As well as the standard three Test matches against the All Blacks, the bumper tour will see the squad face all five of New Zealand’s Super Rugby franchises, as well as a Provincial Union Team and the Maori All Blacks.
It is with great anticipation that we look forward to renewing our rivalries and more importantly our unique and great friendship with New Zealand.
Lions chief exec John Feehan
The first Test match will take place at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday 24 June, with the second test taking place at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington on 1 July and the final test also taking place in Auckland a week later.
It will be a first return to New Zealand for the Lions since their 3-0 series defeat in 2005, but the with all three matches taking place on the North Island, it will the first time the Lions have failed to play a Test match in the South Island since 1904.
British and Irish Lions chief executive John Feehan expects the series to be the highlight of the 2017 sporting calendar.
“There is a rich history between the Lions and New Zealand which dates back to our very first tour in 1888,” Feehan said.
“That first tour helped establish the template for the Lions and it is exciting that 2017 will see the Lions return to New Zealand as part of the next chapter in this great story.
“The NZ Lions 2017 Series will see the best of the best from our four great rugby nations unite as one to play ten matches in New Zealand, a series that will once again be the highlight of the 2017 global sporting calendar.
“It is with great anticipation that we look forward to renewing our rivalries and more importantly our unique and great friendship with New Zealand.”
After the 2013 squad coached by Warren Gatland returned victorious with a 2-1 series win over Australia, the Lions will go to New Zealand looking to record a second successive series win for just the third time in their long history.
Few will remember the three successive wins between 1891 and 1899 when South Africa were defeated 3-0 and 3-1 before Australia lost 3-1.
The last time the feat happened came in 1974 when Ireland’s Syd Millar and Willie John McBride steered the Lions to a 2-1 win over South Africa.
The British & Irish Lions Tour is one of those very special events for any rugby fan and we all remember how the 2005 Series captivated this country
NZ Rugby chief exec Steve Tew
The first match of the tour will see the tourists take on a provincial side in Whangarei on Saturday 3 June, four days before the first of three matches at Eden Park when they take on the Blues.
The unrelenting tour will then take in a match against the Crusaders at the AMI Stadium in Christchurch on 10 June before heading further south to Dunedin to take on the Highlanders at the covered Forsyth Barr Stadium on 13 June.
On 17 June, the Lions will face New Zealand’s second string Maori All Blacks in Rotorua, three days before their final warm-up match against the Chiefs in Hamilton.
After the first Test, the entire squad will head to Wellington, with the shadow XV taking on the Hurricanes at the Westpac Stadium on Tuesday 27 June, four days before the second Test at the same venue with a week to recover in time for the final Test.
New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew believes the series will be the biggest the country could host for some time with Lions fans expected to attend in their droves.
“The British and Irish Lions Tour is one of those very special events for any rugby fan and we all remember how the 2005 Series captivated this country,” Tew said.
“The 2017 series is likely to be one of the most significant sporting events our country has hosted since Rugby World Cup 2011 and perhaps the biggest New Zealand will host for some time.
“The series will feature matches throughout New Zealand and in addition to 10 All Blacks Tests in 2016 and 2017, there’ll be enormous opportunity for the whole country to not only enjoy quality international rugby, but to also share in the economic benefits that the matches present.
“More than 20,000 Lions supporters travelled to New Zealand in 2005, generating more than NZ$135m in benefits – we’re confident the 2017 Series will exceed these figures.”
2017 Lions Tour Fixtures:
Sat 3 June vs Provincial Union Team, Toll Stadium, Whangarei
Wed 7 June vs Blues, Eden Park, Auckland
Sat 10 June vs Crusaders, AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Tue 13 June vs Highlanders, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Sat 17 June vs Maori All Blacks, Rotorua International Stadium
Tue 20 June vs Chiefs, Waikato Stadium Hamilton
Sat 24 June vs All Blacks (1st Test), Eden Park, Auckland
Tue 27 June vs Hurricanes, Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Sat 1 July vs All Blacks (2nd Test), Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Sat 8 July vs All Blacks (3rd Test), Eden Park, Auckland