10 Jul 2015

South Island misses out on Lions Tests

5:25 pm on 10 July 2015

Christchurch and Dunedin won't get to host a Test match between the All Blacks and British and Irish Lions in 2017.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew says the cities can't cope with the demands such a match makes.

New Zealand Rugby has announced a 10-match schedule for the 2017 Lions tour with two of the three Tests to be played at Auckland's Eden Park and the other in Wellington.

Christchuch and Dunedin though will host matches between the Crusaders and the Highlanders respectively.

"We cannot host a British and Irish Lions Test in Christchurch with the current stadium that is there. It is simply not up to this level of fixture," Tew said.

"Despite the parochial views of most people who live south of (Wellington) it would be a considerable struggle for Dunedin to cope with the logistics of the hordes of fans that are travelling."

"We think on balance, we are taking a Bledisloe Cup match to Dunedin and we are taking a very big match to Christhcurch over the next two years and the (Lions) will also play the Crusaders and the Highlanders there too," said Tew.

Eight cities will host Lions matches, with the tour kicking off in Whangarei on June 3rd, 2017 with a game against a Provincial Union XV.

The tour will also include a match against the Māori All Blacks in Rotorua.

Richie McCaw on the charge during the 2005 British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.

Richie McCaw on the charge during the 2005 British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand. Photo: Photosport

Next year Wales will play a three-Test series here with matches in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin.

Next year's Rugby Championship Tests have also been announced.

Hamilton will host a Test against Argentina, South Africa will play in Christchurch, while Australia will play the All Blacks in Wellington, before returning for the third Bledisloe Cup Test in Auckland later in October.

The 2017 Rugby Championship will feature Tests in New Plymouth against Argentina, at North Harbour against South Africa, while Dunedin will host a Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia.

"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.

Steve Tew.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew. Photo: AFP

"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."

"More than 20,000 Lions supporters travelled to New Zealand in 2005, generating more than $135m in benefits - we're confident the 2017 Series will exceed these figures," he said.

The tour is the 12th by a combined British Isles side to New Zealand.

The first was in 1888 and the most recent 10 years ago.

During that time, New Zealand has won 27 Tests to the Lions' six, including a memorable 3-0 series victory in 2005.

The Lions only previous series victory in New Zealand was achieved in 1971 when a side coached by Welshman Carwyn James prevailed 2-1, with the final Test in Auckland drawn.

All Blacks fixtures 2016/17:

All Blacks v Wales, Eden Park, Auckland 11 June 2016

All Blacks v Wales, Westpac Stadium, Wellington 18 June 2016

All Blacks v Wales, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin 25 June 2016

2016 Rugby Championship:

All Blacks v Australia, Westpac Stadium, Wellington 27 August 2016

All Blacks v Argentina, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton 10 September 2016

All Blacks v South Africa, AMI Stadium, Christchurch 17 September 2016

Also 2016: All Blacks v Australia, 3rd Bledisloe Cup Test, Eden Park, Auckland 22 October

2017 British & Irish Lions Series:

Lions v Provincial Union Team, Whangarei 3 June 2017

Lions v Blues Eden Park, Auckland 7 June

Lions v Crusaders, AMI Stadium Christchurch 10 June

Lions v Highlanders, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin 13 June

Lions v Māori All Blacks, Rotorua International Stadium, 17 June

Lions v Chiefs, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton 20 June

Lions v All Blacks, Eden Park, Auckland 24 June

Lions v Hurricanes, Westpac Stadium, Wellington 27 June

Lions v All Blacks, Westpac Stadium, Wellington 1 July

Lions v All Blacks, Eden Park, Auckland 17 July

2017 Rugby Championship:

All Blacks v Australia, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin 26 August

All Blacks v Argentina, Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth 9 September

All Blacks v South Africa, QBE Stadium, Auckland 16 September