In case you have been sleeping under a rock, it’s pretty hard to have missed the fact that the British and Irish Lions will be touring New Zealand this winter for the first time in 12 years. We live in the most passionate, rugby-mad nation in the world and this tour is kind of a big deal. The last time the British and Irish Lions toured New Zealand in 2005, they went home with their tails between their legs following a 3-0 whitewash but a lot has happened since then and they will be returning to our beautiful country with revenge on their mind.
Let’s take a quick look at what we’ve got to look forward to this winter.
Where will the Lions matches be played?
As with every British and Irish Lions tour, matches will be played all across the country. We have five Super Rugby Teams based here in New Zealand and the Lions will play all five during their tour as part of their warm up schedule. They will also play in Whangarei and Rotorua in addition to Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. There will be a total of 10 matches as part of the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand with three Test Matches against the New Zealand All Blacks.
Here’s a quick look at the fixtures:
- 3 June – Provincial Union XV – Whangarei
- 7 June – Blues – Auckland
- 10 June – Crusaders – Christchurch
- 13 June – Highlanders – Dunedin
- 17 June – Maori All Blacks – Rotorua
- 20 June – Chiefs – Hamilton
- 24 June – All Blacks – Auckland – 1st Test
- 27 June – Hurricanes – Wellington
- 1 July – All Blacks – Wellington – 2nd Test
- 8 July – All Blacks – Auckland – 3rd Test
Atmosphere in New Zealand
As you can imagine, rugby fans in New Zealand have had a long wait since the last tour and a lot has happened in that time. The All Blacks have won the World Cup twice since the last tour (once on home soil here in New Zealand) whereas the cumulative forces of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland have not had as much success on the global level.
Having said that, England are currently on a record-setting 16 match winning streak and are threatening to break New Zealand’s record of 18 wins in a row as they currently look to complete back to back Grand Slams in the Six Nations. Ireland will perhaps have the best chance of stopping England as they are expected to beat Italy and Scotland in their next two matches so the English players selected in the squad could come to New Zealand with a lot of confidence. England, however have not had to play the All Blacks as part of their winning streak so things could get very interesting.
If 2005 was anything to go by, the atmosphere up and down New Zealand will be electric and whether you are a rugby fan or not, you will find it hard not to get gripped by Lions fever. If you have tickets for any of the matches then you are in for a treat – there is a carnival atmosphere for all the games and all the warm up games are hotly contested as the Lions look to build towards the three Tests. Even if you don’t have tickets, the bars in towns and cities across New Zealand will be jumping so make sure you get involved.
Save with GO Rentals
As part of the build up to the Lions tour of New Zealand, GO Rentals will have some fantastic car rental deals for locals and visitors to help get you GOing around New Zealand following your team. We will also be launching a comprehensive guide to the Lions tour which will feature itineraries to get yourself to the games and ideas for things to do when you are not watching the rugby so watch this space!