2017 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
2017 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand
Lions Tour logo 2017.png
Date 3 June – 8 July
Coach(es) Warren Gatland
Tour captain(s) Sam Warburton

The 2017 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand will take place during June and July 2017. The tour will see the British and Irish Lions play 10 rugby union matches, including against all five New Zealand Super Rugby franchises, the New Zealand Barbarians, the Māori All Blacks and three test matches against New Zealand.[1][2]

The British and Irish Lions are a composite team selected from players who are eligible to represent the national teams of England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales.[3] The Lions first toured New Zealand in 1888, but did not play against the New Zealand national team until 1904. Since then they have only won one test series against the All Blacks – in 1971. The side only tours every four years and last played in New Zealand in 2005 when they lost the test series 3–0.[4]

Wales' head coach and 2013 test series winning coach Warren Gatland retained his role as head coach.[5] Former Wales captain Sam Warburton was appointed as tour captain, a role he had in the 2013 Lions tour of Australia.[6]


The ten-match schedule was announced on 9 July 2015, and includes matches against New Zealand Super Rugby franchises for the first time. Previously in New Zealand, the Lions had played provincial sides or combined provincial selections.[7] However this is the first tour to New Zealand where the visit has fallen in the middle of the Super Rugby season.

Initially, the Lions were looking to set up a match against the United States in America to open the tour, much like the Barbarians match in Hong Kong in 2013.[8] However, on 6 July 2015, it was announced the idea had been scrapped due to some American players unable to be released by their clubs to make the match competitive enough.[9] Also, a match versus the Pacific Islanders was proposed in 2014.[10][11] 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.[12]

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.[13]

Date Home team Score Away team Venue Details
3 June New Zealand Barbarians vs British and Irish Lions Okara Park, Whangarei Match details
7 June Blues vs British and Irish Lions Eden Park, Auckland Match details
10 June Crusaders vs British and Irish Lions Rugby League Park, Christchurch Match details
13 June Highlanders vs British and Irish Lions Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin Match details
17 June Māori All Blacks vs British and Irish Lions Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua Match details
20 June Chiefs vs British and Irish Lions Waikato Stadium, Hamilton Match details
24 June New Zealand vs British and Irish Lions Eden Park, Auckland Match details
27 June Hurricanes vs British and Irish Lions Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington Match details
1 July New Zealand vs British and Irish Lions Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington Match details
8 July New Zealand vs British and Irish Lions Eden Park, Auckland Match details


Tour manager John Spencer announced an initial squad of 41 on 19 April 2017, made up of 16 players from England, 12 from Wales, 11 from Ireland and two from Scotland.[14] Player positions are per the official website.[15]

Ben Youngs was initially selected in the squad but withdrew on 6 May due to personal reasons.[16]

Billy Vunipola withdrew from the squad on 21 May after suffering an ankle injury while playing for his club Saracens.[17]

Notes: Ages listed are as of the first tour match on 3 June. Bold denotes that the player was selected for a previous Lions squad. Italic denotes a player that has withdrawn from the squad following selection.

Player Position Date of birth (age) National team Club/province National caps
(Lions tests)
Best, RoryRory Best Hooker (1982-08-15)15 August 1982 (aged 34) Ireland Ireland Ulster 104
George, JamieJamie George Hooker (1990-10-20)20 October 1990 (aged 26) England England Saracens 17
Owens, KenKen Owens Hooker (1987-01-03)3 January 1987 (aged 30) Wales Wales Scarlets 50
Cole, DanDan Cole Prop (1987-05-09)9 May 1987 (aged 30) England England Leicester Tigers 74 (3)
Furlong, TadhgTadhg Furlong Prop (1992-11-14)14 November 1992 (aged 24) Ireland Ireland Leinster 16
Marler, JoeJoe Marler Prop (1990-07-07)7 July 1990 (aged 26) England England Harlequins 51
McGrath, JackJack McGrath Prop (1989-10-11)11 October 1989 (aged 27) Ireland Ireland Leinster 41
Sinckler, KyleKyle Sinckler Prop (1993-03-30)30 March 1993 (aged 24) England England Harlequins 8
Vunipola, MakoMako Vunipola Prop (1991-01-13)13 January 1991 (aged 26) England England Saracens 42 (3)
Henderson, IainIain Henderson Second row / Back row (1992-02-21)21 February 1992 (aged 25) Ireland Ireland Ulster 32
Itoje, MaroMaro Itoje Second row / Back row (1994-10-28)28 October 1994 (aged 22) England England Saracens 12
Jones, Alun WynAlun Wyn Jones Second row (1985-09-19)19 September 1985 (aged 31) Wales Wales Ospreys 110 (6)
Kruis, GeorgeGeorge Kruis Second row (1990-02-22)22 February 1990 (aged 27) England England Saracens 20
Lawes, CourtneyCourtney Lawes Second row (1989-02-23)23 February 1989 (aged 28) England England Northampton Saints 58
Faletau, TaulupeTaulupe Faletau Back row (1990-11-12)12 November 1990 (aged 26) Wales Wales Bath 66 (1)
Haskell, JamesJames Haskell Back row (1985-04-18)18 April 1985 (aged 31) England England Wasps 75 Replaced Billy Vunipola
Moriarty, RossRoss Moriarty Back row (1994-04-18)18 April 1994 (aged 23) Wales Wales Gloucester 17
O'Brien, SeánSeán O'Brien Back row (1987-02-14)14 February 1987 (aged 30) Ireland Ireland Leinster 49 (2)
O'Mahony, PeterPeter O'Mahony Back row (1989-09-17)17 September 1989 (aged 27) Ireland Ireland Munster 40
Stander, CJCJ Stander Back row (1990-04-05)5 April 1990 (aged 27) Ireland Ireland Munster 15
Tipuric, JustinJustin Tipuric Back row (1989-08-06)6 August 1989 (aged 27) Wales Wales Ospreys 51 (1)
Warburton, SamSam Warburton (c) Back row (1988-10-05)5 October 1988 (aged 28) Wales Wales Cardiff Blues 73 (2)
Vunipola, BillyBilly Vunipola Back row (1992-11-03)3 November 1992 (aged 24) England England Saracens 34 Withdrew due to injury
Laidlaw, GreigGreig Laidlaw Scrum half (1985-10-12)12 October 1985 (aged 31) Scotland Scotland Gloucester 58 Replaced Ben Youngs
Murray, ConorConor Murray Scrum half (1989-04-20)20 April 1989 (aged 28) Ireland Ireland Munster 58 (2)
Webb, RhysRhys Webb Scrum half (1988-12-09)9 December 1988 (aged 28) Wales Wales Ospreys 28
Youngs, BenBen Youngs Scrum half (1989-09-05)5 September 1989 (aged 27) England England Leicester Tigers 70 (2) Withdrew due to personal reasons
Biggar, DanDan Biggar Fly half (1989-10-16)16 October 1989 (aged 27) Wales Wales Ospreys 56
Farrell, OwenOwen Farrell Fly half / Centre (1991-09-24)24 September 1991 (aged 25) England England Saracens 52 (1)
Sexton, JonathanJonathan Sexton Fly half (1985-07-11)11 July 1985 (aged 31) Ireland Ireland Leinster 66 (3)
Davies, JonathanJonathan Davies Centre (1988-04-05)5 April 1988 (aged 29) Wales Wales Scarlets 64 (3)
Henshaw, RobbieRobbie Henshaw Centre (1993-06-12)12 June 1993 (aged 23) Ireland Ireland Leinster 24
Joseph, JonathanJonathan Joseph Centre (1991-05-21)21 May 1991 (aged 26) England England Bath 33
Payne, JaredJared Payne Centre / Full back (1985-10-13)13 October 1985 (aged 31) Ireland Ireland Ulster 20
Te'o, BenBen Te'o Centre (1987-01-27)27 January 1987 (aged 30) England England Worcester Warriors 8
Daly, ElliotElliot Daly Centre / Wing (1992-10-08)8 October 1992 (aged 24) England England Wasps 13
North, GeorgeGeorge North Wing (1992-04-13)13 April 1992 (aged 25) Wales Wales Northampton Saints 69 (3)
Nowell, JackJack Nowell Wing / Full back (1993-04-11)11 April 1993 (aged 24) England England Exeter Chiefs 23
Seymour, TommyTommy Seymour Wing (1988-07-01)1 July 1988 (aged 28) Scotland Scotland Glasgow Warriors 36
Watson, AnthonyAnthony Watson Wing / Full back (1994-02-26)26 February 1994 (aged 23) England England Bath 26
Halfpenny, LeighLeigh Halfpenny Full back / Wing (1988-12-22)22 December 1988 (aged 28) Wales Wales Toulon 71 (3)
Hogg, StuartStuart Hogg Full back (1992-06-24)24 June 1992 (aged 24) Scotland Scotland Glasgow Warriors 53
Williams, LiamLiam Williams Full back / Wing (1991-04-09)9 April 1991 (aged 26) Wales Wales Scarlets 38

Management and staff[edit]

Warren Gatland

On 30 July 2014, former English international player John Spencer was named tour manager.[18]

On 7 September 2016, Warren Gatland retained his coaching duties from 2013 and named his assistants on 7 December 2016.[19] Steve Borthwick, Andy Farrell and Rob Howley were named as Gatland's assistants, with this being Howley's fifth tour having both toured as a player (1997 & 2001) and coach (2009 & 2013). For Farrell this will be his second tour and it will be a first for Borthwick.

Role Name
CEO John Feehan
Chairman Tom Grace
Tour Manager John Spencer
Director of Operations Ger Carmody[20]
Coaching and conditioning
Role Name Union/Club
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 England Harlequins
Head of Strength & Conditioning Paul Stridgeon France Toulon
Head Analyst Rhodri Brown  Wales
Head of Medical Eanna Falvey  Ireland

Match details[edit]

24 June 2017
19:35 NZST (UTC+12)
New Zealand  v British and Irish Lions
Eden Park, Auckland
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)

1 July 2017
19:35 NZST (UTC+12)
New Zealand  v British and Irish Lions
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)

8 July 2017
19:35 NZST (UTC+12)
New Zealand  v British and Irish Lions
Eden Park, Auckland
Referee: Romain Poite (France)


Sky Sports NZL will be the host broadcaster,[21] with Sky Sports televising the tour in UK and Ireland.[22] In addition to Sky Sports, Talksport will provide exclusively live UK radio commentary.

Other broadcasters include Fox Sports in Australia, SuperSport in South Africa, Sky Sport in Italy, Eir Sport in Asia.[23]


Land Rover and Ernst & Young (EY) are Principal Partners of the Lions while Standard Life is the main sponsor for the Lions, sponsoring their shirts on tours.[24] Canterbury takes over from Adidas, ending a 18-year association,[25] and Rhino will continue to supply training aids. Thomas Pink will supply the official formal and evening wear for the team and Vivomed will be the official medical provider for the third consecutive tour. Members of The Telegraph will tour with the team, providing media content from both camps. Following on from a successful partnership in 2013, Australia's national airliner Qantas will provide transports to and from Britain and New Zealand and during the tour.[citation needed]

Other sponsors include QBE Insurance, Mud House, Gillette, Robert Walters plc and Whyte & Mackay.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Jones, Chris. "British and Irish Lions tour fixtures a necessity – chief executive John Feehan". BBC Sport. Retrieved 9 September 2016. 
  2. ^ "2017 tour". British and Irish Lions. Retrieved 9 September 2016. 
  3. ^ "British and Irish Lions 2017 New Zealand tour warmup match plans abandoned". Stuff.co.nz. 8 July 2015. Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "British and Irish Lions announce 2017 New Zealand tour schedule". BBC Sport. 9 July 2015. Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  5. ^ "Warren Gatland confirmed as head coach of 2017 British & Irish Lions". Guardian. 7 September 2016. Retrieved 8 September 2016. 
  6. ^ "Lions 2017 squad announcement: Warburton captain, no place for Hartley – as it happened". Guardian. 19 April 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2017. 
  7. ^ "2017 Tour schedule unveiled". lionsrugby.com. British and Irish Lions. 9 July 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2015. 
  8. ^ "British & Irish Lions weigh up 2017 US warm-up game en route to New Zealand". theguardian.com. The Guardian. 3 February 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2015. 
  9. ^ "Lions Scrap Plans to come to the USA". Ted Hardy. americasrugbynews.com. 6 July 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2015. 
  10. ^ O'Driscoll wants Lions match in Pacific Islands – ESPN Scrum, 19 July 2014
  11. ^ Samoan star calls the Lions the ‘most stuck-up’ team in the world after Pacific Island snub – The 42, 21 July 2015
  12. ^ Rugby: Lions to face Barbarians in opener to NZ tour
  13. ^ "Auckland to host two British and Irish Lions tests in 2017 New Zealand tour". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  14. ^ "British and Irish Lions 2017: Sam Warburton captain, Dylan Hartley out". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 19 April 2017. Retrieved 19 April 2017. 
  15. ^ "2017 British & Irish Lions squad". British and Irish Lions. 2017. Retrieved 23 April 2017. 
  16. ^ "BRITISH & IRISH LIONS STATEMENT". British and Irish Lions. 6 May 2017. Retrieved 22 May 2017. 
  17. ^ "BILLY VUNIPOLA WITHDRAWS FROM LIONS SQUAD". British and Irish Lions. 21 May 2017. Retrieved 22 May 2017. 
  18. ^ "British & Irish Lions: John Spencer to manage 2017 New Zealand tour". BBC Sport. BBC Sport. 30 July 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2017. 
  19. ^ "British and Irish Lions: Howley, Farrell and Borthwick join coaching staff". BBC Sport. BBC Sport. 7 December 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2017. 
  20. ^ "Carmody Appointed Director of Operations For Lions Tour". IRFU. 29 May 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2017. 
  21. ^ "Sky Sports New Zealand". Sky Sports New Zealand. 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2017. 
  22. ^ "Sky Sports secures exclusive rights to next British & Irish Lions Tour to New Zealand". 30 January 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2017. 
  23. ^ "2017 Tour Schedule & TV Guide". 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2017. 
  24. ^ "Standard Life Investments to sponsor British and Irish Lions shirts for New Zealand tour in 2017". 11 January 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2017. 
  25. ^ "British and Irish Lions announce Canterbury partnership ahead of 2017 New Zealand tour... ending 18-year adidas association". 6 November 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2017. 

External links[edit]