2017 British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand
|2017 British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand|
|Date||3 June – 8 July|
|Tour captain(s)||Sam Warburton|
|Test series winners||Series drawn (1–1)|
|Top test point scorer(s)||Owen Farrell (31)|
|Top point scorer(s)||Owen Farrell (45)|
|Top test try scorer(s)|
|Top try scorer(s)||Tommy Seymour (3)|
The British & Irish Lions toured New Zealand during June and July 2017. The Lions, a rugby union team selected from players eligible to represent England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales, played ten matches: against all five New Zealand Super Rugby franchises, the NZ Provincial Barbarians, the Māori All Blacks and three test matches against New Zealand.
The test series was drawn 1–1 – one victory each and a draw in the third match. Of the other tour matches, the Lions won four, lost two and drew one.
Wales coach Warren Gatland was head coach of the Lions, having also led the Lions to victory in the 2013 series against Australia. Former Wales captain Sam Warburton was appointed as tour captain, a role he also held on the 2013 tour. The Lions squad voted Jonathan Davies their player of the series.
The ten-match schedule was announced on 9 July 2015, and included matches against New Zealand Super Rugby teams for the first time. Previously in New Zealand, the Lions had played provincial sides or combined provincial selections. However, this was the first tour to New Zealand, where the visit fell in the middle of the Super Rugby season.
Initially, the Lions proposed a match in the United States against the U.S. national team to open the tour, much like the Barbarians match in Hong Kong in 2013. However, on 6 July 2015, the idea was dropped because of the unavailability of key American players due to club commitments. Also, a match versus the Pacific Islanders was proposed in 2014. The opening match of the tour was originally planned to be against a Provincial Union XV; however, in March 2016, this was changed to the New Zealand Barbarians following their win over the Māori All Blacks.
In New Zealand, there was criticism that there were too many matches in the North Island with only two matches being played in the South Island. Christchurch was initially planned to host a test match but, due to the 2011 Christchurch earthquake which damaged Lancaster Park beyond repair, it was deemed that the remaining stadiums in the South Island were too small to host a test match.
|Date||Home team||Score||Away team||Venue||Details|
|3 June||New Zealand Provincial Barbarians||7–13||British & Irish Lions||Okara Park, Whangarei||Match details|
|7 June||Blues||22–16||British & Irish Lions||Eden Park, Auckland||Match details|
|10 June||Crusaders||3–12||British & Irish Lions||Rugby League Park, Christchurch||Match details|
|13 June||Highlanders||23–22||British & Irish Lions||Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin||Match details|
|17 June||Māori All Blacks||10–32||British & Irish Lions||Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua||Match details|
|20 June||Chiefs||6–34||British & Irish Lions||Waikato Stadium, Hamilton||Match details|
|24 June||New Zealand||30–15||British & Irish Lions||Eden Park, Auckland||Match details|
|27 June||Hurricanes||31–31||British & Irish Lions||Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington||Match details|
|1 July||New Zealand||21–24||British & Irish Lions||Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington||Match details|
|8 July||New Zealand||15–15||British & Irish Lions||Eden Park, Auckland||Match details|
Ben Youngs was initially selected in the squad but withdrew on 6 May for personal reasons.
Billy Vunipola withdrew from the squad on 21 May after suffering a shoulder injury while playing for his club Saracens.
On 17 June, six players – Kristian Dacey, Gareth Davies, Allan Dell, Tomas Francis, Cory Hill and Finn Russell – were called up to the squad to provide cover during mid-week games in their respective positions ahead of the test series.
On 17 June, Ross Moriarty was ruled out of the remaining games on tour after failing to recover from an injury sustained against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians.
On 29 June, Robbie Henshaw and George North were ruled out of the remaining games on tour after sustaining injuries against the Hurricanes.
Jared Payne, initially still in contention for test match selection, was ruled out of the final game on tour after he failed to recover from concussion.
Notes: Ages listed are as of the first tour match on 3 June. Player positions are per the Lions' website. Bold denotes that the player was selected for a previous Lions squad. Italic denotes a player that withdrew from the squad following selection.
|Player||Position||Date of birth (age)||National team||Club/province||National caps
|Rory Best||Hooker||15 August 1982 (aged 34)||Ireland||Ulster||104|
|Kristian Dacey||Hooker||25 July 1989 (aged 27)||Wales||Cardiff Blues||4||Called up as cover|
|Jamie George||Hooker||20 October 1990 (aged 26)||England||Saracens||17|
|Ken Owens||Hooker||3 January 1987 (aged 30)||Wales||Scarlets||50|
|Allan Dell||Prop||16 March 1992 (aged 25)||Scotland||Edinburgh||9||Called up as cover|
|Dan Cole||Prop||9 May 1987 (aged 30)||England||Leicester Tigers||74 (3)|
|Tomas Francis||Prop||27 April 1992 (aged 25)||Wales||Exeter Chiefs||23||Called up as cover|
|Tadhg Furlong||Prop||14 November 1992 (aged 24)||Ireland||Leinster||16|
|Joe Marler||Prop||7 July 1990 (aged 26)||England||Harlequins||51|
|Jack McGrath||Prop||11 October 1989 (aged 27)||Ireland||Leinster||41|
|Kyle Sinckler||Prop||30 March 1993 (aged 24)||England||Harlequins||8|
|Mako Vunipola||Prop||13 January 1991 (aged 26)||England||Saracens||42 (3)|
|Iain Henderson||Second row / Back row||21 February 1992 (aged 25)||Ireland||Ulster||32|
|Cory Hill||Second row||10 February 1992 (aged 25)||Wales||Dragons||6||Called up as cover|
|Maro Itoje||Second row / Back row||28 October 1994 (aged 22)||England||Saracens||12|
|Alun Wyn Jones||Second row||19 September 1985 (aged 31)||Wales||Ospreys||110 (6)|
|George Kruis||Second row||22 February 1990 (aged 27)||England||Saracens||20|
|Courtney Lawes||Second row||23 February 1989 (aged 28)||England||Northampton Saints||58|
|Taulupe Faletau||Back row||12 November 1990 (aged 26)||Wales||Bath||66 (1)|
|James Haskell||Back row||18 April 1985 (aged 32)||England||Wasps||75||Replaced Billy Vunipola|
|Ross Moriarty||Back row||18 April 1994 (aged 23)||Wales||Gloucester||17||Withdrew due to injury sustained during tour|
|Seán O'Brien||Back row||14 February 1987 (aged 30)||Ireland||Leinster||49 (2)|
|Peter O'Mahony||Back row||17 September 1989 (aged 27)||Ireland||Munster||40|
|CJ Stander||Back row||5 April 1990 (aged 27)||Ireland||Munster||15|
|Justin Tipuric||Back row||6 August 1989 (aged 27)||Wales||Ospreys||51 (1)|
|Sam Warburton (c)||Back row||5 October 1988 (aged 28)||Wales||Cardiff Blues||73 (2)|
|Billy Vunipola||Back row||3 November 1992 (aged 24)||England||Saracens||34||Withdrew due to injury before tour|
|Gareth Davies||Scrum-half||18 August 1990 (aged 26)||Wales||Scarlets||25||Called up as cover|
|Greig Laidlaw||Scrum half||12 October 1985 (aged 31)||Scotland||Gloucester||58||Replaced Ben Youngs|
|Conor Murray||Scrum half||20 April 1989 (aged 28)||Ireland||Munster||58 (2)|
|Rhys Webb||Scrum half||9 December 1988 (aged 28)||Wales||Ospreys||28|
|Ben Youngs||Scrum half||5 September 1989 (aged 27)||England||Leicester Tigers||70 (2)||Withdrew for personal reasons before tour|
|Dan Biggar||Fly half||16 October 1989 (aged 27)||Wales||Ospreys||56|
|Owen Farrell||Fly half / Centre||24 September 1991 (aged 25)||England||Saracens||52 (1)|
|Finn Russell||Fly-half||23 September 1992 (aged 24)||Scotland||Glasgow Warriors||29||Called up as cover|
|Jonathan Sexton||Fly half||11 July 1985 (aged 31)||Ireland||Leinster||66 (3)|
|Jonathan Davies||Centre||5 April 1988 (aged 29)||Wales||Scarlets||64 (3)|
|Robbie Henshaw||Centre||12 June 1993 (aged 23)||Ireland||Leinster||24||Withdrew due to injury sustained during tour|
|Jonathan Joseph||Centre||21 May 1991 (aged 26)||England||Bath||33|
|Jared Payne||Centre / Full back||13 October 1985 (aged 31)||Ireland||Ulster||20||Withdrew due to injury sustained during tour|
|Ben Te'o||Centre||27 January 1987 (aged 30)||England||Worcester Warriors||8|
|Elliot Daly||Centre / Wing||8 October 1992 (aged 24)||England||Wasps||13|
|George North||Wing||13 April 1992 (aged 25)||Wales||Northampton Saints||69 (3)||Withdrew due to injury sustained during tour|
|Jack Nowell||Wing / Full back||11 April 1993 (aged 24)||England||Exeter Chiefs||23|
|Tommy Seymour||Wing||1 July 1988 (aged 28)||Scotland||Glasgow Warriors||36|
|Anthony Watson||Wing / Full back||26 February 1994 (aged 23)||England||Bath||26|
|Leigh Halfpenny||Full back / Wing||22 December 1988 (aged 28)||Wales||Toulon||71 (3)|
|Stuart Hogg||Full back||24 June 1992 (aged 24)||Scotland||Glasgow Warriors||53||Withdrew due to injury sustained during tour|
|Liam Williams||Full back / Wing||9 April 1991 (aged 26)||Wales||Scarlets||38|
Management and staff
On 7 September 2016, Warren Gatland retained his coaching duties from 2013 and named his assistants on 7 December 2016 – Steve Borthwick, Andy Farrell and Rob Howley. Howley was on his fifth tour, having previously toured as a player (1997 and 2001) and coach (2009 and 2013). Borthwick was making first tour as a Lions coach and Farrell was on his second after being part of the 2013 tour coaching staff.
|Chief Executive (CEO)||John Feehan|
|Chief Operating Officer (COO)||Charlie McEwen|
|Tour Manager||John Spencer|
|Head Coach||Warren Gatland||Wales (Head Coach)|
|Assistant Coach (Attack)||Rob Howley||Wales (Attack Coach)|
|Assistant Coach (Forwards)||Steve Borthwick||England (Forwards Coach)|
|Assistant Coach (Defence)||Andy Farrell||Ireland (Defence Coach)|
|Assistant Coach (Kicking)||Neil Jenkins||Wales|
|Assistant Coach (Scrum)||Graham Rowntree||Harlequins|
|Head Analyst||Rhodri Bown||Wales|
|Sports Scientist||Brian Cunniffe||Ireland|
|Medical & Conditioning|
|Head of Strength & Conditioning||Paul Stridgeon||Toulon|
|Head of Medical||Eanna Falvey||Ireland|
|Director of Operations||Ger Carmody |
|Legal officer||Max Duthie|
|Baggage Master||Patrick O'Reilly|
|Catering and Nutrition||Dave Campbell|
|Head of Communications||Dave Barton|
|Communications Manager||Luke Broadley|
|Communications Manager||Christine Connolly|
Liam Coltman, Vaea Fifita, Jack Goodhue, Akira Ioane and Matt Todd were also named in the squad as injury cover.
Following concussion to Ben Smith in the first test, Damian McKenzie was added to the squad as cover for Ben Smith.
On 3 July, Malakai Fekitoa was called up as a replacement for Sonny Bill Williams who was suspended after a red card in the second test.
All squad members play rugby in New Zealand.
- Head coach: Steve Hansen
- Attack coach: Ian Foster
- Forwards coach: Mike Cron
- Defence coach: Wayne Smith
Note: Ages, caps and clubs as per first test match, 24 June 2017.
Alongside the test series, the Lions played a series of tour matches against New Zealand provincial teams. For the first time since the establishment of Super Rugby, this included playing all five of New Zealand's Super Rugby teams. The current form of the Super Rugby teams made this tour arguably one of the toughest undertaken by a British & Irish Lions team.
The Lions arrived in New Zealand just two days before their first match against a Provincial Barbarians team. The Barbarian team was made up of players on the fringe of New Zealand Super Rugby teams, and included Bryn Gatland, son of Lions coach Warren Gatland. The Barbarians led 7–3 at half time, before Anthony Watson scored for the visitors to give them the lead with 30 minutes to go. They held on to open the tour with an unconvincing 13–7 victory.
The next match was four days later against the Blues, an Auckland-based Super Rugby franchise. The Lions led 16–15 with 10 minutes remaining before a Sonny Bill Williams break and offload to Ihaia West led to the match-winning try. A try-less 12–3 victory over the Crusaders in Christchurch followed, this was the first time the Crusaders had lost in 2017. It was another close game against the Highlanders as Marty Banks from the Otago-based side kicked the winning penalty with six minutes remaining.
The next match was against the Māori All Blacks, a team made up of players with Maori ancestry. A strong squad was named, with nine players with All Black caps selected. The Lions beat the Maori team with ease in what was predicted to be the toughest match before meeting the All Blacks. The convincing 32–10 victory was followed up three days later as they put another dominant display against the Chiefs in Hamilton, winning 34–6. The final mid-week game against the Hurricanes was played after the first All Black test match. The Hurricanes came from behind to secure a 31–31 draw in Wellington.
|New Zealand Provincial Barbarians||7–13||British & Irish Lions|
|Try: Anderson-Heather 22' c
Con: Gatland (1/1) 23'
|Report||Try: Watson 51' c|
Con: Farrell (1/1) 53'
Pen: Sexton (1/2) 16'
Laidlaw (1/1) 42'
|Blues||22–16||British & Irish Lions|
|Try: R. Ioane 6' m
Williams 40+3' c
West 73' c
Con: Perofeta (1/2) 40'+5
West (1/1) 74'
Pen: West (1/1) 52'
|Report||Try: Stander 17' c|
Con: Halfpenny (1/1) 18'
Pen: Halfpenny (3/3) 25', 65', 70'
|Crusaders||3–12||British & Irish Lions|
|Pen: Mo'unga (1/1) 24'
||Report||Pen: Farrell (4/5) 12', 16', 30', 70'|
|Highlanders||23–22||British & Irish Lions|
|Try: Naholo 25' c
Coltman 59' c
Con: Sopoaga (1/1) 26'
Banks (1/1) 61'
Pen: Sopoaga (2/3) 4', 49'
Banks (1/1) 73'
|Report||Try: Joseph 29' c|
Seymour 42' m
Warburton 52' c
Con: Biggar (2/3) 30', 53'
Pen: Biggar (1/2) 15'
|Māori All Blacks||10–32||British & Irish Lions|
|Try: Messam 12' c
Con: McKenzie (1/1) 13'
Pen: McKenzie (1/2) 22'
|Report||Try: Penalty try 51'|
Con: Halfpenny (1/1) 56'
Pen: Halfpenny (6/6) 5', 10', 20', 33', 44', 70'
|Chiefs||6–34||British & Irish Lions|
|Pen: Donald (2/2) 21', 40'
||Report||Try: Nowell (2) 24' c, 58' c|
Penalty try 53'
Payne 63' c
Con: Biggar (3/3) 25', 59', 64'
Pen: Biggar (2/2) 9', 17'
|Hurricanes||31–31||British & Irish Lions|
|Try: Gibbins 26' c
Laumape 40' c
Goosen 67' c
Fifita 70' c
Con: Barrett (4/4) 28', 42', 67', 70'
Pen: Barrett 49'
|Report||Try: Seymour (2) 17' c, 54' m|
North 35' c
Con: Biggar (2/3) 18', 37'
Pen: Biggar (4/4) 9', 21', 30', 51'
New Zealand were favourites, coming into the first test match having won 46 tests in a row at home and undefeated at Eden Park in 23 years. Peter O'Mahony was named Lions captain by Warren Gatland for the first test. Sam Warburton lost his position to Seán O'Brien, making him the first tour captain not to play in the first test in 87 years. Apart from a new-look back three of Anthony Watson, Liam Williams and Elliot Daly, Gatland picked a predictable squad. So too did All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, his only surprise being the elevation of 20-year-old Rieko Ioane for his first start over the veteran winger Julian Savea.
The first test was a close match during the first half, Codie Taylor's try for the All Blacks being matched by one from the Lions' Seán O'Brien, and the home side led 13–8 at the break; however in the second half Rieko Ioane's two tries took the game away from the Lions, with Rhys Webb's try bringing the score back to 30–15.
|New Zealand||30–15||British & Irish Lions|
|Try: Taylor 17' c
Ioane (2) 54' c, 69' c
Con: B. Barrett (3/3) 19', 55', 71'
Pen: B. Barrett (3/3) 13', 33', 60'
|Report||Try: O'Brien 35' m|
Webb 80' c
Con: Farrell (1/2) 80'
Pen: Farrell (1/1) 30'
- On his test debut for the Lions, Peter O'Mahony became the 11th Irishman to captain the team.
- New Zealand's 15-point winning margin marked the heaviest defeat for the Lions since the third test against New Zealand in 2005.
- This defeat was the Lions' third of the tour, the most defeats on a tour since 2005, when they were beaten four times.
- The match marked New Zealand's fifth consecutive victory over the Lions, having last been beaten in the second test in 1993.
The second test was notable for the sending off of Sonny Bill Williams, leaving the All Blacks 55 minutes to play with 14 men. At half time, the score remained 9–9, but Beauden Barrett kicked New Zealand into an 18–9 lead before Taulupe Faletau and Conor Murray tries levelled the game at 21–21. On 76 minutes, Charlie Faumuina was penalised for tackling Kyle Sinckler in the air, and Owen Farrell kicked the winning penalty.
|New Zealand||21–24||British & Irish Lions|
|Pen: B. Barrett (7/10) 19', 31', 36', 47', 53', 57', 66'
||Report||Try: Faletau 59' m|
Murray 68' c
Con: Farrell (1/2) 69'
Pen: Farrell (4/4) 22', 33', 40', 77'
- Ngani Laumape (New Zealand) made his international debut.
- Sonny Bill Williams (New Zealand) was only the third New Zealand player to be sent off, and the first since Colin Meads against Scotland in New Zealand's 1967 northern hemisphere tour.
- This was the British & Irish Lions' first win over New Zealand since winning 20–7 during their 1993 tour, and was their first win over New Zealand in the professional era.
- The British & Irish Lions ended New Zealand's 47-match home winning streak, the All Blacks' first loss since their 32–29 defeat to South Africa in 2009.
- This was the first time that New Zealand failed to score any tries in a game since they drew 12–12 with Australia in 2014, and the first time since beating Australia 12–6 in 2002 that they failed to score any tries in a home game.
New Zealand led 12–6 at the break, with tries from Laumape and Jordie Barrett, but the Lions fought their way back into the game, and eventually five penalties (four from Owen Farrell and one from Elliot Daly) were enough to draw the game. There was controversy with two minutes left when Ken Owens was initially adjudged to have handled the ball in an offside position after Liam Williams tried to claim a high kick under pressure from Kieran Read; with the scores level, referee Poite initially awarded a penalty in kicking range before overturning it to a scrum after discussion with the video officials.
|New Zealand||15–15||British & Irish Lions|
|Try: Laumape 14' c
J. Barrett 35' m
Con: B. Barrett (1/2) 15'
Pen: B. Barrett (1/2) 67'
|Report||Pen: Farrell (4/4) 20', 32', 59', 77'|
Daly (1/1) 41'
- Kieran Read (New Zealand) became the seventh All Black to reach 100 test caps.
- Aaron Cruden and Charlie Faumuina (both New Zealand) earned their 50th test caps.
- This was the first time the Lions and New Zealand had drawn a test match since their 14–14 draw in 1971, and the first time the Lions had drawn any test match since their 13–13 draw with South Africa in 1974.
- This was the first British & Irish Lions series drawn with New Zealand, and the first against any side since the 2–2 draw with South Africa in 1955.
- This was the first time since New Zealand drew with South Africa 18–18 in 1994 that they have failed to win a game at Eden Park.
Lions player statistics
- Con: Conversions
- Pen: Penalties
- DG: Drop goals
- Pts: Points
|Alun Wyn Jones||4||0||0||0||0||0||3||0||0||0||0||0||7||0||0||0||0||0||–|
|Kristian Dacey||Did not play|
|Gareth Davies||Did not play|
|Tomas Francis||Did not play|
|Cory Hill||Did not play|
|Billy Vunipola||Did not play – Withdrawn due to injury ahead of tour|
|Ben Youngs||Did not play – Withdrawn due to personal reasons ahead of tour|
Test match statistics
- Con: Conversions
- Pen: Penalties
- DG: Drop goals
- Pts: Points
|Beauden Barrett||New Zealand||–||4||11||–||41|
|Owen Farrell||British & Irish Lions||–||2||9||–||31|
|Rieko Ioane||New Zealand||2||–||–||–||10|
|Jordie Barrett||New Zealand||1||–||–||–||5|
|Taulupe Faletau||British & Irish Lions||1||–||–||–||5|
|Ngani Laumape||New Zealand||1||–||–||–||5|
|Conor Murray||British & Irish Lions||1||–||–||–||5|
|Seán O'Brien||British & Irish Lions||1||–||–||–||5|
|Codie Taylor||New Zealand||1||–||–||–||5|
|Rhys Webb||British & Irish Lions||1||–||–||–||5|
|Elliot Daly||British & Irish Lions||–||–||1||–||3|
Sky Sport was the host broadcaster. Sky Sports televised the tour in the UK and Ireland and S4C showed highlights throughout the UK in the Welsh language. In addition to Sky Sports, Talksport provided exclusive live UK radio commentary.
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