Lions tour details revealed
Published 09/07/2015 | 23:46
The British and Irish Lions will play New Zealand twice at Eden Park in Auckland during a 10-match 2017 tour.
Apart from a three-Test series, the Lions will also face all five New Zealand Super Rugby teams, plus the New Zealand Maori.
The five-week trip will open against a provincial union side in Whangarei on June 3, 2017.
The itinerary was revealed on the official Lions website and via their Twitter and Facebook outlets on Thursday night, in tandem with an announcement in New Zealand.
The Test series starts in Auckland on June 24, before the Lions and All Blacks meet in Wellington seven days later and then return to Eden Park for a July 8 finale.
Six games are scheduled before the first Test, including against Super Rugby opponents the Blues, Crusaders, Highlanders and Chiefs, with all midweek fixtures taking place on a Tuesday, apart from a Wednesday appointment with the Blues.
The Lions have lost four successive Test series against New Zealand, including a 3-0 whitewash under the direction of World Cup-winning England coach Sir Clive Woodward on their last visit 10 years ago.
They have not beaten the All Blacks in a Test series since 1971, when a John Dawes-captained Lions squad won 2-1, with one draw.
John Feehan, chief executive of the Lions, said on www.allblacks.com: "There is a rich history between the Lions and New Zealand which dates back to our very first tour in 1888. 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 10 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."
Press Association Sport, meanwhile, can confirm that the Lions will head straight to New Zealand without playing a warm-up match.
The Lions took on the Barbarians in Hong Kong before travelling on to Australia two years ago, while they tackled Argentina in Cardiff prior to the 2005 New Zealand trip.
The 2017 Lions had been linked to a fixture in America before starting business in New Zealand, but there will be no preparation match this time around.
2017 British and Irish Lions tour fixtures: June 3 - Provincial Union team (Toll Stadium, Whangarei); June 7 - Blues (Eden Park, Auckland); June 10 - Crusaders (AMI Stadium, Christchurch); June 13 - Highlanders (Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin); June 17 - Maori (International Stadium, Rotorua); June 20 - Chiefs (Waikato Stadium, Hamilton); June 24 - New Zealand (first Test, Eden Park, Auckland); June 27 - Hurricanes (Westpac Stadium, Wellington); July 1 - New Zealand (second Test, Westpac Stadium, Wellington); July 8 - New Zealand (third Test, Eden Park, Auckland).