British & Irish Lions
Lions kick-off 2017 New Zealand tour in Whangarei
ESPN Staff
July 10, 2015
Dan Carter waltzes past Simon Easterby. New Zealand v British and Irish Lions, Second Test, Westpac Stadium, July 2 2005.
New Zealand humbled the Lions when they last played each other in 2005 © Getty Images

The British & Irish Lions will play 10 matches on their 2017 tour of New Zealand, including three Tests against the All Blacks and four midweek fixtures.

New Zealand Rugby officials are still working with the Lions to confirm the final schedule, but the tour will kick-off with a match against a Provincial Union XV side in Whangarei in early June and conclude in mid-July.

Auckland will stage two Tests at Eden Park with Westpac Stadium in Wellington the venue for the third international. The Lions will also against each of New Zealand's Super Rugby franchises - the Blues, Crusaders, Highlanders, Chiefs and Hurricanes - and the Maori All Blacks.

"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," New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve 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 $NZ135 million in benefits. We're confident the 2017 Series will exceed these figures. Over the last few years New Zealand has shown we can successfully host some of the biggest events in international sport and provide visitors with a unique and welcoming experience. The Series in New Zealand will be a huge occasion, featuring the best players from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales and providing almost six weeks of incredible rugby with matches against our Super Rugby teams, the Maori All Blacks and a Provincial Union XV side.

Lions chief executive John Feehan said: "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."

The Lions have toured New Zealand 11 times with the All Blacks winning 27 Tests to the tourists' six, including a memorable 3-0 series victory in 2005.

The Lions have won a series in New Zealand only once, in 1971, when Carwyn James' squad won 2-1 with the final Test in Auckland drawn.

The British & Irish Lions' supporters enjoy their series victory against Australia in 2013 © Getty Images
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