The British and Irish Lions are an ethereal institution. They form once every four years to tour one of the three great rugby nations of the Southern Hemisphere, disbanding and then reforming in another four with a new destination. Picked from the available talent in England, Wales, Scotland and the island of Ireland, the team represents some of the best talent in the northern half of the rugby-playing world. They are often followed by their dedicated “Red Army” supporters who combine a fast-paced rugby watching schedule with a road trip
around the host country for the perfect holiday.
Everybody knows that the mighty All Blacks are the team to beat for any rugby side. Fierce and dominant, they play best on their home ground in the rugged land of New Zealand
. When the British and Irish Lions take their tour there, it’s a clash of the titans - and offers some spectacular rugby viewing. The last NZ tour was in 2005, and fans are itching for the next.
The wait is over
The New Zealand Rugby Union announced the 2017 series over the weekend, and the locations for the fixtures. The Lions will play three tests against the All Blacks, two in their home of Eden Park and one at “The Caketin” Westpac Stadium in Wellington
. There will also be an additional seven tests against regional sides around the country, to take place in Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.
The matches will take place between the 3rd of June and the 8th of July, and is expected to attract more than the 20,000 Lions supporters which followed the 2005 tour. New Zealand’s Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman said of the planned series
, “there is something quite special about a Lions tour. It is an epic event for New Zealand that’s celebrated right across the country, on and off the field. An important part of visiting New Zealand is to get to know the locals and the Lions tour is one of those occasions when everyone comes together to have a fantastic time while watching some great rugby.”
3rd June: Whangarei, Lions vs Provincial Union XV at Toll Stadium
7th June: Auckland, Lions vs Blues at Eden Park
10th June: Christchurch, Lions vs Crusaders at AMI Stadium
13th June: Dunedin, LIons vs Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium
17th June: Rotorua, Lions vs Maori All Blacks at Rotorua International Stadium
20th June Hamilton, Lions vs. Chiefs at Waikato Stadium
24th June: Auckland, Lions vs All Blacks at Eden Park
27th June: Wellington, Lions vs Hurricanes at Westpac Stadium
1st July Wellington, Lions vs All Blacks at Westpac Stadium
8th July Auckland, Lions vs All Blacks at Eden Park
Join the tour
With matches spread across the country, the best way to catch some or all of the Lions Tour 2017 is to rent a car at Auckland Airport
upon arrival and set your own itinerary. Plan out which games you just can’t miss and the scenic highlights you are hankering to see, and hit the highways of New Zealand for an unforgettable winter break. We recommend making your bookings early, as transport and accommodation will sell out fast for such a popular event.
There is plenty to keep anyone occupied between bouts of great rugby. The snowy and spectacular mountains of the central plateau are a natural stopping point between Auckland and Wellington, and if you have some time between the last two tests we recommend a leisurely journey taking in Lake Taupo and the Coromandel Peninsula.
Crossing Cook Strait to follow the Red Army down into the deep south? You can pick up a car rental in Christchurch
and see the beautiful Queenstown
, just as incredible in winter as in summer. The juxtaposition of lakes and mountains will take your breath away. Have a read of our New Zealand driving tips
, and stay safe for a fabulous road trip in the Land of the Long White Cloud.