British and Irish Lions announce historic tour to New Zealand in 2027

British and Irish Lions flag.

British and Irish Lions flag.

The British and Irish Lions have announced they will send a women’s side to New Zealand for a historic three-Test series with the Black Ferns in September 2027.

In a first for the Lions which comes as a significant boost for the sport, the hugely anticipated tour will feature three showdowns against the current world champions.

The Lions issued a statement on Tuesday morning confirming that the tour will not overlap with 2027’s men’s World Cup in Australia and will include warm-up games.

Full schedule not confirmed

The Lions added that the full schedule had not yet been finalised.

“Playing three Test matches against the current world champions, the Black Ferns in New Zealand , in front of thousands of fans represents the ultimate challenge and makes for a fantastic sporting spectacle,” said British and Irish Lions chief executive Ben Calveley.

“We look forward to working with all our stakeholders including New Zealand Rugby to finalise an exciting inaugural tour.”

Mark Robinson, New Zealand Rugby CEO commented: “When the opportunity arose to be part of history and have the honour of hosting the inaugural British & Irish Lions women’s tour, we knew we wanted to be part of it.

“Women’s rugby is growing at pace in New Zealand and following the success of the Rugby World Cup in 2022, we know the excitement world class competition can generate.

“There will be anticipation around the country about the prospect of hosting the Lions and we look forward to announcing venues and match schedules in the future.

“The Lions and New Zealand have a long and storied history in the men’s game, and we cannot wait to help write a new chapter in the rivalry – this time between the Lions women and the Black Ferns.”

Commercial partnerships

The British and Irish Lions have also unveiled major commercial partnerships, in what is a major endorsement for the 2027 tour and series and women’s rugby in general.

The UK’s largest life, pensions, and investments mutual, Royal London, is Founding Partner of the Lions women’s team. It will also be the front of jersey sponsor in 2027.

Royal London will also invest in player development in each of the British & Irish Lions constituent unions through the delivery of a special elite players’ Pathways Funding grant. The grants will support the elite women’s player and coach pathways in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and England, to help unions develop more players and coaches capable of being selected for the inaugural Lions women’s Tour. In addition, Royal London will also be investing in women’s and girls’ grassroots rugby across the UK and Ireland in the run-up to the tour.

Finally, leading global insurance group Howden has been confirmed as the Series Title Partner of the tour, which will be named the Howden British & Irish Lions Women’s Series.

READ MORE: The win rates of all the British & Irish Lions coaches since 1989

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Jonathan Davies

British & Irish Lions tour: Five things we learned from tour of New Zealand

Paul Rees

1 ) Davies becomes the Lions’ mane man

The players voted Jonathan Davies the Lion of the tour after the third and final Test on Saturday. The recognition for the Wales centre was notable for at least two reasons: he was a back on a trip when they were expected to do little more than chase kicks, and he was not from the country with the largest single representation. His defence in the second half at Eden Park on Saturday made it hard for New Zealand to achieve width and it was a series when the loss of so many experienced players after the World Cup caught up with the All Blacks, not least in midfield.

2 ) Warrencall not Warrenball is new name of the game

Warren Gatland was asked after the match whether he would be interested in coaching the Lions in South Africa in 2021. He smiled his way through a non‑answer , knowing that if he is to fulfil his dream of coaching the All Blacks it needs to have happened by then. He is contracted for the next two years to Wales, who have said they would not stand in Gatland’s way if he wanted to go (doubtless for the appropriate compensation). The normal route in New Zealand is for coaches to be based in the country before being considered for the national side, which Gatland has not been since 2007.

3 ) All Blacks are running the risk of flatlining

The All Blacks are used to flattening everything in their path, but are they flatlining? The Rugby Championship has become uncompetitive – New Zealand scored 135 points in their three away matches last year while conceding 40 – and they are not used to the thorough examination by the British & Irish Lions. Similarly, their Super Rugby sides tend to have it their own way until they face each other, and then it is very much like against like. The tours to Europe this year and next, culminating in the Twickenham Test with England, will be more meaningful as a pointer to the 2019 World Cup, the rugby world turning on its head.

4 ) Lions’ boldness should be used as inspiration

The Lions succeeded in New Zealand because they operated a few levels above the Six Nations average, a tournament which is not high on risk and in which poor weather conditions are used as an excuse for putting the ball in the air rather than through hands. Wellington was proof that rain need not be an inhibitor and the Lions’ boldness should be used as inspiration. How will Wales play next season after Gatland left two of his key players this decade, Leigh Halfpenny and George North, out of the Test side and minimised the role of Justin Tipuric? After the Scarlets’ success in the Pro12, they are equipped to give it a rip.

5 ) The next World Cup is now more interesting

At the end of the Rugby Championship last year, New Zealand’s lead over England at the top of the world rankings was 7.07 points. Before the third Test on Saturday, it had dropped to 4.64 and will fall again after the draw. England are the home union likely to gain most from the tour, and not just because the only area where they did not contribute to the Test side was the back row in the absence of Billy Vunipola. They have greater strength in depth than Ireland, Wales and Scotland, and they are the closest of the four in terms of style to the Lions, and not just because of their 10-12 combination, but the pace at which they play and their ambition. The next World Cup, in Japan in 2019, has become that bit more interesting.

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British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand: History, opportunity and combinations

By Emma Thurston

Saturday 3 June 2017 08:30, UK

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On the eve of the first game of the 2017 tour to New Zealand, Sean Fitzpatrick, Keith Wood and Ieuan Evans run the rule over what lies ahead.

In Melbourne 2013, the British & Irish Lions made history by completing a series victory against Australia, now a new challenge awaits and arguably one that is considerably greater than the last.

From selection specifics to key ingredients, no stone was left unturned and some former British & Irish Lions captains also added their views.

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Three-time tourist, Evans, highlighted one of the key ingredients required for a successful British & Irish Lions tour.

"Competition is the lifeblood of a successful Lions tour - playing your way in or playing your way into contention.

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"You need that inbuilt competitive spirit to come to the fore whether it's in training sessions or whether it's in the games themselves."

Martin Johnson concurred that being a Lion is more than just being a great individual.

Sky Live: NZ Baa-Baas v Lions

'Lions must win in Wellington'

Five Lions with a point to prove

Rugby on Sky Sports

"People ask me what it takes to be a Lion and it's character. It [a Lions tour] can find you out… it can find you out as a player and as a person," said the 1997 and 2001 Lions captain.

"In a world when people talk about science, strategy and tactics none of that is worth anything unless you have a team. You've got to be inspired on this trip to be successful, you have to raise each other's level so that the team becomes bigger than the sum of the parts."

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - MAY 19: Bryn Gatland of the Blues during the Super Rugby match between DHL Stormers and Blues at DHL Newlands on May 19, 2017 in

This tour starts with a meeting with the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians in Whangarei, live on Sky Sports, and Sean Fitzpatrick shared what he's expecting to see from the Lions' opening opponents.

"They are a very young team, not many well-known names, but they have been given an opportunity to play against the Lions and they will just want to earn respect really," he said. "They will want to put on a respectful performance and challenge the Lions."

Warren Gatland has selected a squad that includes six of the 2013 Lions in his starting XV and a further three on the bench. Jared Payne was due to be among the replacements, however a calf strain has ruled him out and Elliot Daly wears the 23 jersey instead.

"I think to play against the World Champions three weeks in a row, the first six games will work out who has got the bottle to go three rounds with the All Blacks," said Fitzpatrick.

"That's what it's going to be, tomorrow is supposedly not going to be a difficult game but it often can be. But, the next five games before the first Test will be hugely difficult and that's what we need in terms of rugby in general and especially for Warren Gatland to see which players work well together and can handle the pressure week in and week out."

The Lions team warm up during the British & Irish Lions training session held at the QBE Stadium in Auckland

Wood added: "It is something that is so rare and even though this is the toughest tour and a horribly tough tour - the chance to go on the tour and the chance to win on that tour is what every single rugby player in the home nations wants."

The task ahead of this touring squad is a colossal one yet one of the most important things will be to embrace that challenge head on and take wholehearted belief into the series, according to Evans concluded.

"What an opportunity - the Lions have only beaten New Zealand six times out of 38 games… What does that mean?

"It means that you have a great opportunity to write history, the Lions allows you to write history and be remembered for that."

Watch the first game of the British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand live on Sky Sports 1 from 8am on Saturday.

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Full coverage of the British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand

british lions tour to new zealand

The British & Irish Lions have ended a gruelling 10-game tour of New Zealand with a record of five wins, three losses and two draws.

ESPN has been there every step of the way.

The three-Test series against the world champion All Blacks has ended drawn at 1-1 after the two sides couldn't be separated in a pulsating 15-15 finale.

Top Headlines

Match coverage

Jones focused on series above plaudits

Alun Wyn Jones will take his place among some of the greats to have worn the Lions jersey when he runs out onto Eden Park on Saturday.

Excitement builds as Lions target history

Tom Hamilton sets the scene ahead of the British & Irish Lions' decisive third Test against the All Blacks at Eden Park.

Milestone man Read in 'pretty cool place'

All Blacks captain Kieran Read will join an exclusive club on Saturday night when he plays his 100th Test in the series decider with the British & Irish Lions.

What makes the All Blacks so good?

Tom Hamilton has travelled the length and breadth of New Zealand over the past six weeks looking for the secret to New Zealand's rugby prowess.

Gatland tells Lions to 'leave a legacy'

Warren Gatland has challenged his players to 'do something special' in the third Test against the All Blacks on Saturday.

Unchanged Lions comfortable in their own skin

Warren Gatland met expectations by opting for Lions continuity in third Test, says Tom Hamilton.

Experience, youth could be potent backline mix for ABs

The All Blacks have a decision to make in the midfield this week and it should be one that considers the value of experience writes Craig Dowd.

Growden: Time for offsiders to be penalized

With referees having an already loaded plate, players have been taking advantage of the offside laws writes Greg Growden.

Why we haven't seen the best of Beauden Barrett, yet

The British & Irish Lions have given up a whopping 24 penalties across the first Two tests but in doing so they have limited the impact of Beauden Barrett.

Fekitoa returns to All Blacks with point to prove

Controversially overlooked ahead of the series, Malakai Fekitoa is now back in the running to start for the All Blacks in the decisive third Test.

Lions beat 14-man All Blacks to level series

The British & Irish Lions produced a stirring finish in Wellington the beat the 14-man All Blacks.

Who's the clown now? Criticism galvanises Lions

Warren Gatland says his players were galvanised after their fair share of criticism in the build up to Saturday's 24-21 win over the All Blacks.

All Blacks coach Hansen in no mood for 'red whine'

New Zealand had few complaints with the red card to Sonny Bill Williams that saw them play with 14 men for 55 minutes of the second Test.

Warburton: Win keeps Lions alive

Lions captain Sam Warburton hopes that the British & Irish Lions victory in Wellington will keep the Lions tradition alive.

SBW makes unwanted history in Wellington

Sonny Bill Williams will go down in the record books as the first player to get sent off in a British & Irish Lions Test.

All Blacks vs. Lions 2nd Test: Social Reaction

There was ecstasy from former Lions players and fans on social media after Warren Gatland's side won the second Test.

Lions Player Ratings: Second Test

Owen Farrell and Sean O'Brien were the pick of the bunch as the British & Irish Lions claimed victory in Wellington.

All Blacks Player Ratings: 2nd Test

New Zealand missed the chance to clinch the series against the British & Irish Lions as they were made to pay for Sonny Bill Williams' red card.

Tom May: Sexton-Farrell gamble pays off

Former England international Tom May looks at how well Johnny Sexton and Owen Farrell combined in the Lions second Test win.

All Blacks vs. Lions 2nd Test: Defining moments

There was a red card, a yellow card, two tries and a dubious penalty to decide the match. We break down the defining moments of the Lions win in Wellington.

Lions selection rugby's equivalent of going 'all in'

The selection of Jonathan Sexton and Owen Farrell at 10 and 12 is Warren Gatland stacking his chips, throwing them into the middle of the table and then waiting; he has shown his hand, writes Tom Hamilton.

Tactical guessing game: How second Test will be won

The All Blacks took a 1-0 series lead over the British & Irish Lions by winning the tactical battle. But that could all change in Wellington as both sides try to "second guess" each other, Steve Hansen says.

Standout Laumape knocking on All Blacks door

Rugby league convert Ngani Laumape took a further step towards an All Blacks debut with yet another bullocking display for the Hurricanes against the Lions.

Hurricanes vs. Lions: Who said what

Lions captain Rory Best refused to blame referee Romain Poite over the yellow card that led to his side squandering a 14-point advantage against the Hurricanes.

What the Lions learned in Canes draw

The true significance of the draw between the British & Irish Lions and Hurricanes will only be put into perspective for the tourists at the end of the series.

All Blacks park razzle-dazzle for route-one rugby

They're usually the kings of attacking wizardry but that wasn't the case as the All Blacks kept it simple to beat the Lions at Eden Park.

Jones: Lions need to be more clinical

Former British & Irish Lions prop Adam Jones believes Warren Gatland's side need to take their chances if they're to come close to winning the second Test.

Lions Player Ratings -- 1st Test

Jonathan Davies and Liam Williams had strong games for the Lions in their 30-15 loss to the All Blacks at Eden Park.

All Blacks Player Ratings -- 1st Test

Kieran Read and Brodie Retallick led from the front as the All Blacks went 1-0 in the best of three Test series against the Lions.

All Blacks vs. Lions 1st Test: Social reaction

Plenty of former players and influential figures in the North expressed their frustration on social media as the Lions missed numerous opportunities in the first Test.

All Blacks vs. Lions 1st Test: Who said what

The British & Irish Lions were left to rue poor finishing after world champions New Zealand won a thrilling first Test in Auckland.

One of the great Lions tries not enough to halt magnetic All Blacks

The All Blacks' 80-minute management is unrivalled, fortress Eden Park remains secure, formidable and a place synonymous with New Zealand victory.

Read unconcerned by lack of recent rugby

Sam Bruce reports from Auckland as the All Blacks go through their final preparations ahead of the first Test.

The quiet man from Munster takes centre stage

Peter O'Mahony has been through an awful lot this season which is why captaining the British & Irish Lions in the first Test against the All Blacks will not faze or distract him in the slightest.

Gatland goes bold with exciting team selection

George North? Gone. Leigh Halfpenny? Benched. Sam Warburton, the tour captain? Benched. Warren Gatland's team for the first Lions Test was a shock -- but a positive decision.

Chiefs win gives Gatland food for thought

The British & Irish Lions coaches will meet on Wednesday to finalise the team for Saturday's first Test with Warren Gatland predicting a "tough" selection meeting.

What the Lions learned in Chiefs rout

The midweek side made their mark on the 2017 tour with a commanding 34-6 win in Hamilton. Here is what the tourists will have learned.

Lions vs. Chiefs: Who said what

The reaction of British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland, captain Rory Best and Jack Nowell after the convincing victory over the Chiefs.

Lions vs. Chiefs: Social reaction

There was plenty of social love for Courtney Lawes and the Lions' back three.

What the Lions learned in record Maori win

Forward dominance, physicality and some real grunt saw the British & Irish Lions dispatch the Maori All Blacks in Rotorua.

Maori embracing history, heritage ahead of Lions battle

The Maori All Blacks are leaving their Super Rugby allegiances at the door in the hope of delivering another body blow to the British & Irish Lions' momentum.

Lions left licking scrum wounds

Discipline and scrum interpretation remain a concern for Lions coach Warren Gatland following a run of penalties in the latter stages of Tuesday's loss to the Highlanders that left prop Kyle Sinckler bemused.

What the Lions learned in Highlanders loss

The British & Irish Lions slipped to a last-gasp defeat to the Highlanders in Dunedin as Marty Banks struck a late penalty to seal a 23-22 win.

Lions vs. Highlanders: Social reaction

We look at how social media reacted after the Lions suffered their second defeat four games into the tour of New Zealand.

What the Lions learned in Crusaders win

The British & Irish Lions bounced back from defeat to earn a hard-fought victory against the Crusaders. This is what Warren Gatland would have learned.

Lions vs Crusaders: Social reaction

The British & Irish Lions beat the form Super Rugby side at the AMI Stadium and we look at how former players reacted to the victory on social media.

Craig Dowd: Lions won't beat Crusaders

Former All Black Craig Dowd says he can't see Warren Gatland's side beating the Crusaders or the Highlanders, but that shouldn't dishearten Lions fans.

Lions look for cure to offload pain

The British & Irish Lions will focus on improving their discipline and offload prevention as they look to bounce back from their defeat to the Blues on Wednesday evening.

Analysis: The try that tamed the Lions

Tour games don't often live in the memory when one reflects on previous British & Irish Lions campaigns, but Ihaia West's try that saw the Blues record a famous victory might well be an exception to the rule.

What the Lions learned in Blues defeat

Two matches down and the British & Irish Lions have suffered their first defeat after losing 22-16 to the Blues at Eden Park.

Lions vs. Blues: Social reaction

We look at how social media reacted to the British & Irish Lions' first loss of the 2017 tour as the Blues recorded a stunning 22-16 win at Eden Park.

Blues will draw on inside knowledge vs. Lions

Blues high performance director Tony Hanks knows Warren Gatland's methods well having worked with the British & Irish Lions coach at Wasps and Waikato.

Lions given perfect wake-up call in Whangarei

Warren Gatland's Lions squad are under no illusion to the task in front of them in New Zealand following a stuttering win over the NZ Provincial Barbarians.

Provincial Barbarians: What the Lions learned

If the Provincial Barbarians were meant to be the most straight-forward opponents the Lions will face, then the tourists have been served a stark reminder over just how hard this series will be.

All Blacks a Key part of New Zealand life

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Sir John Key discusses what the All Blacks mean to the country they represent.

What makes the All Blacks so successful?

ESPN's Tom Hamilton has travelled the length and breadth of New Zealand over the past six weeks, looking for the secret to New Zealand's rugby prowess.

Ponsonby Rugby Club: Much more than 45 All Blacks

Rugby clubs the world over each have their own unique story to tell. But few come better than that of Ponsonby District Rugby Football Club, where the local community is just as important as a record 45 All Blacks.

Steve Hansen: Horses, frustrations and Saturday

The All Blacks coach has varied experiences from his time in the police force, in Wales and even training horses. It's prepared for Saturday's decider against the British & Irish Lions.

The Hitman and Wax: Gone but never forgotten

Tom Hamilton speaks to a raft of former All Blacks who knew the late Jerry Collins and Sione Lauaki best.

The All Blacks whose heart remains in the valley

ESPN's Tom Hamilton meets Rugby World Cup-winner Piri Weepu, who after a globe-trotting career still feels most at home at his local rugby league club.

Henry happy with life after All Blacks

Former All Blacks and British & Irish Lions coach Graham Henry talks about life after winning the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Chris Masoe: Jerry, Toulon and the next chapter

Chris Masoe has had a decorated rugby career spanning 16 years, but he's also had to deal with personal grief and the struggles of being away from home.

Adam Jones: Itoje-Jones pairing can give Lions parity

Former Lions prop Adam Jones believes a second row partnership between Maro Itoje and Alun Wyn Jones can help the tourists level the series with the All Blacks.

'We know he misses us' - At home with the Gatlands

When Warren Gatland steps out onto the Eden Park turf on Saturday, he will look into the stands for three familiar faces. Tom Hamilton spent a day with Lions coach's family.

Carter: Lions series the pinnacle for Lions

Dan Carter savoured first hand the frenzy the Lions engendered in his homeland the last time they visited in 2005 -- and still recalls the experience with palpable awe and wonder.

Williams cannot forget Lions who changed New Zealand

The names of the 1971 Lions forever run through the great Bryan Williams' mind. They were the tourists who helped change New Zealand rugby.

The history of stand-in skippers in numbers

As anybody who managed a pre-tour bet on Peter O'Mahony leading the Lions in the first Test against the All Blacks staggers out of their bookies we look at previous occasions where the Lions have been led by a stand-in captain.

New Zealand honours its favourite son

The small New Zealand town of Te Kuiti grounded to a halt as a statue to honour All Blacks legend Sir Colin Meads was unveiled.

All Blacks Watch

The All Blacks dusted off any possible cobwebs with an impressive outing against Samoa while one winger dealt the Lions a big blow for his Super Rugby franchise.

'Euphoric' night the Maori made history

Jono Gibbes was racked with self-doubt as he prepared the New Zealand Maori to face the 2005 British & Irish Lions. He ended that "euphoric" night having helped make history, and provided inspiration to a new generation.

Matured Maro taking rise in his stride

Maro Itoje was just 19 when he led England to Junior World Championship glory on New Zealand soil. Three years on -- and over his pre-match anxiety -- Itoje is in the frame to start for the British & Irish Lions against the All Blacks.

The All Black who is a farmer first, rugby player second

Tom Hamilton pays a visit to Stonehenge Farm, the remote home of one of New Zealand's most decorated hookers, Andrew Hore.

Lions have homework to do at scrum time

Whinging will not give the British & Irish Lions parity at scrum time, but they have the players and coaching staff to turn things around in New Zealand.

How 'young Vic' helped shape Highlanders of today

Former All Blacks coach Laurie Mains bleeds blue and gold such is his affiliation with Otago Rugby. But even he fell out of love with the Highlanders -- until they knuckled down and returned to their roots of sheer, bloody hard work.

Lions Tour: All Blacks Watch

22 members of Steve Hansen's All Blacks squad featured either against the Lions in the tour games or in Super Rugby. We rank how they fared.

Lions legend Bentley: 'The try that changed my life'

20 years ago the British & Irish Lions were up against the Gauteng Lions on their tour in South Africa. It was a day John Bentley wrote his name into Lions history

Crusaders vs. Lions is Christchurch's Test match

Crusaders backs coach Leon Macdonald talks to ESPN about his memories of playing the Lions in 2005 and why Christchurch's unbeaten team are doing it for their city and their teammates.

Hansen's selection headache signals strength of All Blacks

Steve Hansen says the All Blacks squad he unveiled on Thursday to face the British & Irish Lions was the hardest he has ever had to pick.

Debunking the 'Warrenball' myth

The term 'Warrenball' angers Warren Gatland. It has become synonymous with direct, physical rugby, but ask two men who know Gatland best and they say attacking unpredictability is high up in his coaching philosophy's pecking order.

All Blacks selection issues ahead of Lions Tests

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has plenty to ponder ahead of naming his Test squad to take on the British & Irish Lions. ESPN looks at the four big selection talking points.

Backyard to Lions' den: Ioane boys to torment tourists

The Ioane boys, Akira and Rieko, will on Wednesday night enjoy the special honour of facing the British & Irish Lions alongside one another in front of a packed Eden Park.

Umaga shuts down '05 talk to concentrate on Blues

Tana Umaga was not in the mood for reminiscing on the 2005 Lions tour as he shut down any talk of the infamous tackle from 12 years ago.

Warburton: Two weeks to claim Test place

Kneejerk conclusions will not be drawn from the Lions' struggles against the Provincial Barbarians, but the tourists will have to learn quickly and find some try-scoring form if they are to knock over the All Blacks, according to captain Sam Warburton.

Lions in awe of Waitangi welcome

The Lions have been in New Zealand for five days, but under the crisp winter sun, they were officially welcomed to Aotearoa in a ceremony at Waitangi's treaty grounds that will live long in the memory of those lucky enough to witness it.

Lions must embrace spirit of '71

What can the 2017 Lions learn from the class of 1971? John Taylor believes they must mimic the famous squad's culture.

Gatland wants underdogs to rewrite history

Flying under the radar is suiting the Lions, but Warren Gatland hopes his class of 2017 will have their names written in New Zealand history by the end of the tour.

Super fan Sinckler ready to become a Lion

By his own admission Kyle Sinckler is in "rugby heaven" as he prepares for his first run out as a Lion.

'We want to entertain'

NZ Provincial Barbarians coach Clayton McMillan talks to Tom Hamilton about the unique challenge of bringing together an invitational side to face the Lions.

Wilkinson on 2005: 'I'd never seen such chaos'

Jonny Wilkinson, who toured New Zealand with the Lions 12 years ago, discusses that squad's mistakes and what Gatland & Co. must get right this time around.

Did the Lions heed McGeechan's advice?

Following the 1993 tour of New Zealand, then-coach Sir Ian McGeechan made 18 recommendations for future trips. Were they implemented?

Little left to chance as Lions head to New Zealand

What the 2017 British & Irish Lions lacked in preparation time they made up for in planning as they departed London on Monday afternoon determined to upset the All Blacks.

Tom May: Draw leaves fans feeling flat

Tom May insists the Lions should feel proud, rather than hollow, after drawing the three Test series with the All Blacks.

Tour Diary - Day 39

ESPN's Tom Hamilton says the All Blacks squandered numerous opportunities in the third Test draw against the Lions.

Tour Diary - Day 38

ESPN's Tom Hamilton shares his thoughts on whether the British and Irish Lions can overcome the All Blacks in the third Test.

Umaga: All Blacks' superiority created at school

Former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga believes the education system is the main reason behind their prolonged success in rugby.

Tour Diary - Day 37

Tom Hamilton and Sam Bruce discuss all the latest team news from the Lions tour ahead of the third Test in New Zealand.

Umaga remembers mischievous duo Jerry Collins and Sione Lauaki

Former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga talks to ESPN about his memories of playing alongside the late Jerry Collins and Sione Lauaki.

Adam Jones: Beware the wound-up All Blacks

Adam Jones recalls facing a wound-up New Zealand side with Wales in 2006, and losing by 35 points.

Lions tours much more than just rugby

Former All Blacks prop Craig Dowd has hailed the off-field impact of the Lions tour, saying the thousands of supports who've flocked to New Zealand have created a wonderful feeling up and down the country.

Tour Diary - Day 34

Tom Hamilton checks in from the scenic Queenstown as the Lions shun the spotlight ahead of the deciding third Test.

How each side can win the series decider

Tom May assesses how the Lions can repeat their second test heroics and how the All Blacks can bounce back in the decider.

Masoe: My proudest moment was playing the Lions

New Zealand's Chris Masoe insists that facing the British and Irish Lions in 2005 was one of the proudest moments of his career.

Tour Diary - Day 28

After the Lions drew with the Hurricanes, ESPN's Tom Hamilton gives us his view on all of the game's main talking points.

Tour Diary - Day 27

ESPN's Tom Hamilton discusses with Alex Lowe whether Warren Gatland was right to accuse the All Blacks of targeting Conor Murray in the first Test.

Tour Diary - Day 26

ESPN's Tom Hamilton discusses who will be playing ahead of Tuesday's match between the British and Irish Lions and the Hurricanes.

Jones: All Blacks a different class to the Lions

Former Lion Adam Jones believes the All Blacks had too much quality for the Lions to deal with in their first test defeat.

Tour Diary - Day 25

ESPN's Tom Hamilton believes the Lions will need to improve their discipline if they are to stand a chance in the second test against the All Blacks.

Tour Diary - Day 24

On the eve of the first Test, Tom Hamilton explains one part of Warren Gatland's pre-match routine between him and his family.

Tour Diary - Day 23

Tom Hamilton reports on a number of surprising selections Warren Gatland has made for the Lions first Test against the All Blacks.

Tour Diary - Day 22

Tom Hamilton recaps the Lions comfortable win over the Chiefs in Hamilton and casts an eye on selection issues ahead of the first Test.

Tour Diary - Day 21

Sir Colin Meads was honoured in his hometown, as big crowds turned up to watch the unveiling of the rugby legend's statue.

Tour Diary - Day 20

Tom Hamilton is in Hamilton as the touring media discuss whether there will be any surprises in Warren Gatland's selection for the first Test.

Tour Diary - Day 19

Tom Hamilton reacts from New Zealand as the British and Irish Lions dominate against the Maori All Blacks.

Tour Diary - Day 18

Tom Hamilton, Chris Foy and Owen Slot react to the All Blacks' demolition of Samoa, and what it means for the Lions.

Tour Diary - Day 17

Tom Hamilton is in Rotorua ahead of the Lions clash against the Maori All Blacks.

Adam Jones: Lions must be smarter at scrum time to beat All Blacks

Former Lion Adam Jones believes Gatland's side need to be smarter especially in the scrum if they are to beat the All Blacks.

Life on the farm with Andrew Hore

Tom Hamilton met former All Black Andrew Hore to ask how life has changed since he returned to his farming roots.

Tour Diary - Day 1 4

Tom Hamilton reflects on the Highlanders' win against the Lions, where Warren Gatland's side were again let down by their lack of discipline.

Tour Diary - Day 13

Tom Hamilton is joined by Chris Jones to visit former All Black Andrew Hore's farm near Dunedin.

Tour Diary - Day 12

Tom Hamilton has touched down in Dunedin where Nando's and Sam Warburton's return are on everybody's lips.

Tour Diary - Day 11

The Lions have a lot to be proud of following their win over the Crusaders, believes Tom Hamilton.

Tour Diary - Day 10

Tom Hamilton brings you the latest from the Lions tour, as they prepare for the match against the Crusaders.

Tour Diary - Day 9

Tom Hamilton brings you the latest from the Lions tour, as they prepare for a Crusaders side packed with All Blacks.

Tour Diary - Day 8

Tom Hamilton reports from Auckland after the tourists suffered their first defeat in New Zealand to the Blues.

Tour Diary - Day 7

Tom Hamilton is joined by Stephen Jones and Alan Dymock to discuss the recent criticism of the Lions head coach Warren Gatland.

Tour Diary - Day 6

Tom Hamilton reports from New Zealand as the Lions prepare to face the Blues.

Tour Diary - Day 5

The Lions were treated to a memorable Maori welcome to mark the true beginning of their tour.

Tour Diary - Day 4

Tom Hamilton reports from Whangarei, where the Lions snuck past the NZ Provincial Barbarians.

Tour Diary - Day 3

Tom Hamilton reports from a wet and windy Whangarei ahead of the Lions' opening match of their tour of New Zealand.

Tour Diary - Day 2

Having been mistaken for a possible Lion, ESPN's Tom Hamilton wonders whether the tourists are being underestimated in New Zealand.

Tour Diary - Day 1

After making the trip from London, Dubai and Melbourne the Lions touched down in Auckland. ESPN's Tom Hamilton was there to give his first tour diary.

What is it like playing under Gatland?

Adam Jones, who played under Lions coach Warren Gatland for Wales, lifts the lid on what it's like to play under his guidance.

Adam Jones' 5 Lions to watch

Adam Jones lists the players the British and Irish Lions will need to be aware of if they want to secure victory in New Zealand.

Adam Jones' 5 All Blacks to watch

Adam Jones lists the players the Lions will need to be aware of if they want to secure victory in New Zealand.

Lions Memories: Martin Johnson

Lions legend Martin Johnson looks back to 1997 for his fondest memory of wearing the famous red jersey.

Lions Memories: Richie McCaw

All Blacks legend Richie McCaw looks back to 2005 in Wellington when his New Zealand side faced the Lions in a defining Test match.

Lions Memories: Gareth Edwards

Welsh legend Gareth Edwards represented the Lions 10 times, he spoke to us about his fondest moment.

Lions Memories: Warren Gatland

Lions coach Warren Gatland looks back to 2013 to when his team had just clinched a memorable series win over Australia.

At home with Anthony Watson

Akin Solanke-Caulker sat down with the England and Lions wing to discuss Lions selection, Eddie Jones and haircuts.

Rewind: Previous Lions Tours

1904: The tourists who awoke the beast

The Lions from the start confronted issues which complicate their existence, and in some cases have persisted to this day. Not the least of their difficulties was raising a half-decent team. The time taken to travel to and from New Zealand in the age before air travel meant that the only players who could accept a tour invitation were those who could afford several months off work.

1908: An unmitigated shambles

The 1908 tour of New Zealand is something of an anomaly. The squad was described, correctly, at the time as an Anglo-Welsh team. It played in red shirts with white hoops and attempted to counter the haka with a 'war cry' consisting of the words "Rule Britannia, Cymru am Byth (both repeated three times) hip, hip, hurrah (also repeated three times)".

1930: The tour remembered most for its manager Bim Baxter

Some Lions tours are associated with particular players, often captains, in the way that the undefeated 1974 team in South Africa will for ever more be identified with Willie John McBride. With others it is coaches -- Carwyn James in 1971 or Clive Woodward in 2005. But the 1930 party which visited New Zealand is remembered most of all for its manager, the forthright James 'Bim' Baxter.

1950: The Lions who revitalised New Zealand rugby

The team of 1950 were the first modern Lions, recognisable except in the matter of playing 30 matches to the eyes of 2017. They adopted the red shirts which are now as synonymous with them as gold is with Australian rugby and Brazilian football, also late adopters. And they were much more representative than their predecessors of the strength of British and Irish rugby.

1959: 'Attacking, silly rugby' that won Kiwi hearts

No British & Irish Lions party can have departed with less reason to hope, but few have returned to greater acclaim than Ronnie Dawson's 1959 team. They did not win the Test series, but could claim to have got closer to beating New Zealand than any of their predecessors.

1966: 'Haphazard' Lions continue decade to forget

The 1966 Lions could have got everything right and still lost their Test series against the All Blacks. By ultimately they were the co-conspirators in their own downfall.

1971: The Lions that stand alone in history

The Lions team of 1971 stands out from the other 11 which have visited New Zealand by virtue of one fact -- they won.

1977: Injuries, intolerable hope & relations

Measured purely by results the 1977 British & Irish Lions were among the most successful visitors to New Zealand, winning one Test out of four and coming within minutes of sharing the series. But it certainly was not seen that way at the time. Few if any Lions teams have been quite such a disappointment.

1983: The tour that began in hope but ended in calamity

The 1983 Lions tour of New Zealand looks to modern eyes like a marathon, an 18-match expedition including four tests. But to contemporaries, not least the Lions management team of Willie John McBride and coach Jim Telfer, who had been team-mates on the 35-match trip to New Zealand, Australia and Canada in 1966, it looked more like a sprint.

1993: The tour of great missed opportunity

The 1993 British Lions tour to New Zealand, the first for a decade, the last by players who were still officially amateur and the first since 1908 with only three Tests rather than four, comes into the category of 'missed opportunities'. Like the squad who visited Australia four years earlier they went into the final Test with a chance to win the series, but they didn't.

2005: The tour that threatened the Lions' existence

The most recent British & Irish Lions trip to New Zealand is by definition the most vividly remembered, not least by those of us who were lucky enough to be there. Yet it was at the time a venture whose failure, with a comprehensive whitewashing in the tests, seemed to threaten the future of the Lions.

Fun & Games

The Lions XV to face the All Blacks voted by you

The Lions will name their first to face the All Blacks on Wednesday -- these are the players who ESPN's readers have voted will start on Saturday at Eden Park.

Pick your Lions XV

Who do you think should start the first Test against the All Blacks on June 24? Ranked the contenders to let us know.

5 Lions to watch

Which players will be crucial as the Lions attempt to secure a series win over the All Blacks?

Not-so-early predictions

Ahead of the first game of the tour against the NZ Provincial Barbarians, we asked our experts to look into their crystal balls.

Lions Tour tipping game

Earn bragging rights among your friends by predicting the winner of all 10 tour matches.

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British & Irish Lions Tours to New Zealand

The series was drawn 1-1 with the 3rd game a draw. It was the first time a British & Irish Lions side had drawn a series with New Zealand.

There was a controversial finish to the final test and the series when the referee awarded a penalty to New Zealand in the Lions 22m area but then changed it to a scrum. The kick would have won both the game and the series for New Zealand.

The British & Irish Lions were whitewashed 3-0 in the test series, the 3rd time that it had happened. All 3 have been at the hands of the All Blacks.

The Lions also played a warm up game in Cardiff, against Argentina, before leaving for New Zealand. They drew this game.

THe British & Irish Lions lost the test series 2-1. They went into the last test at 1-1, and despite having lost 4 provincial games, they were a chance to win the series. It was not to be.

The British & Irish Lions lost the series 4-0, only the second time they had been whitewashed in a series.

The British & Irish Lions lost the test series 3-1. They were unbeaten against the provincial sides but lost to the NZ University team. They also lost a match against Fiji on the way home.

The British & Irish Lions won the test series 2-1 (and 1 draw) and became the first Lions team to win a series in New Zealand. They were also unbeaten in New Zealand outside of the tests but lost a game in Australia on the way to New Zealand.

This was the first British and Irish Lions side to be whitwashed (4-0) in a test series.

NB: This tour followed on from games played in Australia and concluded with 2 matches in Canada on the way home. Results from the games in Australia can be found here

NB: The Lions played further games in Australia after the tour of New Zealand. The results of the games in Australia are here .

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British & Irish Lions announce itinerary for 2025 Tour of Australia

The British & Irish Lions have today released the nine-match schedule for the 2025 Tour to Australia including three Test matches against the Wallabies.

  • Guarantee your place on the Tour, get your Priority Access Pass. 

The British & Irish Lions have today released the nine-match schedule for the 2025 Tour to Australia including three Test matches against the Wallabies. Two years out from the Tour, it’s been confirmed that the eagerly awaited Test clashes will take place on 19 July, 26 July and 2 August. The Lions will travel to Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney respectively for the Test matches.

2025 Lions Tour to Australia (kick off times TBC)

  • 28 June, Lions vs Western Force, Perth (Optus Stadium)
  • 2 July, Lions vs Queensland Reds, Brisbane (Suncorp Stadium)
  • 5 July, Lions vs NSW Waratahs, Sydney (Allianz Stadium)
  • 9 July, Lions vs ACT Brumbies, Canberra (GIO Stadium)
  • 12 July, Lions vs Invitational AU & NZ, Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)
  • 19 July, 1st Test, Lions vs Wallabies, Brisbane (Suncorp Stadium)
  • 22 July, Lions vs Melbourne Rebels, Melbourne (Marvel Stadium)
  • 26 July, 2nd Test, Lions vs Wallabies, Melbourne (Melbourne Cricket Ground/MCG)
  • 2 Aug, 3rd Test, Lions vs Wallabies, Sydney (Accor Stadium)

The British & Irish Lions will travel throughout Australia with games taking place in some of the most impressive stadiums in world sport.

The Lions will begin the Tour in Perth against the Western Force before facing fellow Australian Super Rugby Pacific sides, the Queensland Reds, the NSW Waratahs, and the ACT Brumbies. The Lions will continue their preparation for the first Test by facing an invitational Australian and New Zealand team in a clash at the Adelaide Oval.

Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium will host the first Test on Saturday 19 July. Following this, a midweek warm up fixture against Melbourne Rebels will take place at Marvel Stadium on Tuesday 22 July.

The second Test will be played on Saturday 26 July at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), which has a capacity of 100,000. A potential sell-out crowd at the renowned venue would be a record for a British & Irish Lions Test.

This Test would also represent one of the highest attendances at a rugby match in history. The final Test will be played in front of over 80,000 fans at Sydney’s Accor Stadium in Sydney Olympic Park on Saturday 2 August.

british lions tour to new zealand

A strong partnership and a common goal between The British & Irish Lions, Premiership Rugby and the United Rugby Championship has resulted in the Lions having a two-week preparation period before the Tour commences, giving the Lions the best chance of regaining the Series on Australian soil, a country where they enjoyed their last tour win in 2013. Further detail around pre-tour activities, including a pre-tour warm up fixture, will be announced at a later stage.

Details on the Tour schedule follow the announcement of major commercial partners for the Tour, with The British & Irish Lions recently confirming global rugby brand Canterbury as official kit provider and the global insurance group Howden as official front of shirt/jersey sponsor . Confectionery brand Cadbury’s and sportswear manufacturer Asics will continue as the Wallabies official front of shirt and kit partners.

The 2025 Tour to Australia promises to be one of the most eagerly anticipated tours in history considering the absence of fans for the 2021 Tour of South Africa.

Supporters who want to be part of the greatest experience in rugby can guarantee their place for ticket-inclusive travel packages to Australia with The British & Irish Lion’s own travel company, Lions Rugby Travel.

Priority Access Passes are on sale now which will ensure a priority window on packages when they become available. Passes are fully refundable should you choose not to travel and come off your final balance when you book. To purchase Passes or for more information, click here. 

“We are delighted to announce the Tour schedule today as we look ahead to what is to be one of the most eagerly anticipated Series in history,” said Ben Calveley, CEO of The British & Irish Lions.

“I want to take the opportunity to thank Rugby Australia for the strong level of collaboration in planning for this tour and we look forward to continuing to work with them over the next two years. I would also like to thank Premiership Rugby and the United Rugby Championship, whose cooperation has resulted in the longest preparation period for a tour in recent history, which gives us the best possible chance of a Series victory. We look forward to continuing to work with our hosts and our partners to create one of the best tours ever”.

“As we begin the countdown to Australia in 2025, The British & Irish Lions brand and organisation has never been stronger with a global fan base of some 14 million people, a significant following and strong level of engagement through our various digital platforms, and a wide range of commercial partners comprised of some of the biggest brands and organisations in the world.

Our ambition is to further build upon this position and make this upcoming tour the greatest Lions tour ever, positioning it as the major global sporting event of 2025.”

Ieuan Evans, Chairman of The British & Irish Lions, added: “British & Irish Lions Tours are unique in the world of sport, both in terms of the ultimate challenge they represent and the cultural impact they have.  Lions tours to Australia have always been memorable occasions and the 2025 Tour promises to be no different.

I know how special it is to pull on that famous red jersey in Australia, having toured there during the 1989 Tour. What I have learned from those special games is how important the fans are to roaring us on to victory so to be able to announce ticket package details is very exciting.

“Being a part of The British & Irish Lions means being able to unite and inspire through extraordinary rugby experiences, and working closely with our host partners in Rugby Australia, we believe that we can provide an epic tour that will be a global sporting event not to be missed”.

Commenting on the announcement, Rugby Australia CEO, Phil Waugh said: “The British & Irish Lions Tour is one of the great sporting festivals – it is a real landmark of Australian and world sport. Rugby Australia is looking forward to welcoming back the Lions for the first time in 12 years – as well as the tens of thousands of Lions fans from the northern hemisphere.

It is an exciting fixture of matches all around the country with the Lions taking on our Super Rugby franchises, three massive Test matches, and a marquee match in Adelaide featuring a combined invitational Australia-New Zealand side.”

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british lions tour to new zealand

From The Vaults

In 1888 a British touring team was sent to the antipodean colonies to play rugby; an event that subsequently became a key moment in rugby history, setting a precedent for years to come and beginning one of the great traditions of the sport.

Dubbed the Anglo-Australian tour, the tour is now accepted as the first in the line of British and Irish Lions tours that have gone on to supply so many of rugby's most enduring memories.

1888 Anglo-Australian Tour

The World Rugby Museum is home to a number of items from this tour, including the jersey worn by A.P. 'Alf' Penketh. Of the 54 matches contested against New Zealand and Australia on this tour, Penketh would would play 19 and would even score a try against Canterbury on the 9th May 1888.

Born in 1865, Alf Penketh was a native of the Isle of Man. A seasoned forward, he played for and captained the Douglas Rugby Club before being called upon to represent the British Isles team. Penketh's story is unique as he is the sole Manxman to to play rugby for the British and Irish Lions to this day.

But just how did this 6 foot tall lad from the Isle of Man end up on board the SS Kaikoura from Gravesend to New Zealand in the spring of 1888?

british lions tour to new zealand

On the 9th of November 1887, a gentleman named Arthur Shrewsbury sent a message from Sydney, Australia, to England that simply read, 'affix'. The recipient was his business partner, Alfred Shaw, who had now been given the green light to start recruiting men for an international rugby tour to Australia and New Zealand.

A talented batsman, Shrewsbury was visiting and partly financing a cricketing tour to Australia at the time. After four such tours he was rumoured to have been struggling financially, and looked to rugby football to bring his bank account back from the brink.

This was not an official rugby venture - the RFU Committee unanimously opposed the tour; however, they did not seek to actively oppose prospective players from joining it. The Committee made a point of reminding players of the rules against professionalism, and indeed followed through with punishing players for accepting payment or gifts whilst on tour, as Halifax forward Jack Clowes soon found out. On the eve of departure, Clowes would be disqualified from playing by the RFU for admitting to receiving £15 for tour kit. Whilst continuing on the tour, Clowes refused to play a single game so as to avoid tarnishing the reputation of his team-mates.

The 1888 Football Annual described the 22 man squad (21 when Clowes is taken off playing duties, then down to 20 when captain Bob Seddon drowned whilst sculling half way through the tour) as 'a fairly good lot…though by no means representative of English football'.

Assembled by agent Henry Turner, many of the players were not seasoned internationals, with only 3 out of the 22 being regular internationals. They were, however, representative of British Isles rugby with players from all four home nations. The team included four Scots, one Welshman, an Irishman, and not to forget Penketh, representing the Isle of Man. These men were considered rugby 'missionaries' of sorts, spreading their passion for the game through the southern hemisphere.

british lions tour to new zealand

1888 Touring Team

Thirty-five games of rugby were played between April-October 1888 and, in a move that would unthinkable today, the team were also asked to play several Australian rules football matches.

As this was a privately funded tour with no patronage from the RFU, the British team were able to play 19 games of the local code in all, even winning 5 of the matches.

The tourists would have been the first to admit that they did not take to the southern sport well, but these games were less about the sport and more about assisting with the cash flow for the promoters. This was especially necessary during periods of the tour in southern areas of Australia where rugby wasn't well-known or followed.

The British Isles team played 54 matches between the two codes over 23 weeks. Whilst the Australians had the upper hand at their local version of football, only two rugby games were lost and six drawn out of the 35 rugby union games played. 19 of these rugby games were played against side from New Zealand and 16 against sides from Australia.

The success of this first international tour started a tradition that continues to this day!

british lions tour to new zealand

18 July 2023

Uncapped half backs in Lions tests 1891-1939

british lions tour to new zealand

30 July 2021

Remembering the Aston brothers and the 1891 Lions

british lions tour to new zealand

12 July 2021

1971 Lions march on in New Zealand

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Rugby: British & Irish Lions schedule inaugural women's tour to New Zealand in 2027

Black Ferns excited over the prospect of facing British & Irish Lions women. Credits: Image - Getty, video - Newshub

British & Irish Lions have confirmed their first-ever women's tour to New Zealand in 2027.

Selected from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, the Lions men have been one of the game's iconic brands for a century, taking turns to tour New Zealand, Australia or South Africa every four years. 

The confirmation of an inaugural women's visit follows the staging of a successful World Cup and first instalment of the new WXV1 competition in Aotearoa - home of the reigning world champion Black Ferns.

"Hosting this tour gives our players a pinnacle event that will be a highlight in their career and it provides an aspirational pathway for our emerging players," said NZ Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson.

"There is nothing quite like a Lions tour to engage and excite fans. We think this will have a unique flavour, a freshness and excitement to it, like we saw during the Rugby World Cup.

"We will be taking this tour around the country. It will genuinely be something that all Kiwis can get behind and get excited about.

"As we anticipate the continued growth of the women's game globally, we are going to see these teams bringing to life an amazing tour."

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With support from the NZ Government, the itinerary will feature at least five matches, including three tests. Host venues and cities are yet to be confirmed.

"Hosting this event will help us to further increase the value and visibility of women's sport in New Zealand, and create new sporting heroes and role models for our younger generations," said Economic Development Minister Melissa Lee. 

"The onfield action is set to be matched by positive economic benefits, as we look forward to seeing Kiwis pack stadiums and welcoming the legion of fans that will come to New Zealand for this historic tour."

A Lions women's roster would likely be dominated by England players, who have fashioned a formidable Six Nations record of 19 titles, including the last five, and dominated the Black Ferns in the recent WXV competition.

"Significant effort has gone into exploring the concept of a Lions women’s tour, and great credit needs to go to the members of our steering committee, our board, and our staff," said British & Irish Lions chief executive Ben Calveley. 

"Playing three test matches against the current world champions - the Black Ferns - in New Zealand, in front of thousands of fans, represents the ultimate challenge and makes for a fantastic sporting spectacle.

"We look forward to working with all our stakeholders, including NZ Rugby, to finalise an exciting inaugural tour."

british lions tour to new zealand

British and Irish Lions to make historic first women's tour of New Zealand

London (AFP) – The British and Irish Lions will send a women's team on tour for the first time with a historic trip to New Zealand for a three-Test series in September 2027.

Issued on: 16/01/2024 - 12:03

The inaugural women's Lions tour will feature three clashes against the Black Ferns.

New Zealand have won six of the last seven women's World Cups, including the most recent edition in 2022 - postponed by Covid from 2021 - when over 42,000 spectators filled Eden Park in Auckland to see them beat England 34-31 in the final.

The women's Lions tour will not overlap with that year's men's World Cup and will include warm-up fixtures, but the full schedule has yet to be finalised.

"Playing three Test matches against the current world champions, the Black Ferns in New Zealand, in front of thousands of fans represents the ultimate challenge and makes for a fantastic sporting spectacle," British and Irish Lions chief executive Ben Calveley said on Tuesday.

"We look forward to working with all our stakeholders including New Zealand Rugby to finalise an exciting inaugural tour."

Men's Lions tours have taken place since 1888, usually every four years and featuring squads comprised of players from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

The decision to make a first women's Lions tour is a key development in the future of female international rugby.

England, who would likely supply the bulk of the touring party, currently top the global women's rankings ahead of second-placed New Zealand.

"When the opportunity arose to be part of history and have the honour of hosting the inaugural British & Irish Lions Women's Tour, we knew we wanted to be part of it," New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson said.

"Women's rugby is growing at pace in New Zealand and following the success of the Rugby World Cup in 2022, we know the excitement world-class competition can generate."

The next men's Lions tour will be to Australia in 2025 under newly-appointed head coach Andy Farrell.

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Barry John, Welsh rugby great known as 'The King', dies aged 79

Barry John, the rugby great who played 25 games for Wales and inspired the British and Irish Lions’ famous series victory over New Zealand in 1971 before retiring at the age of 27, has died. He was 79.

John's family announced his death in a statement released to British media, saying he died peacefully in the hospital.

Known for his wizardry at flyhalf and regarded by some as rugby's first superstar, John made his debut for Wales in 1966 and soon struck up a partnership in the national team with scrumhalf Gareth Edwards that flourished for his country and for the Lions.

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John was partnered by Edwards in 23 of his international appearances for Wales, plus all five of his Test matches for the Lions — one against South Africa in 1968 and four against New Zealand in '71 when the touring team won the series 2-1 against the All Blacks.

Welsh player Barry John in action during the British Lions' tour of New Zealand, 1971.

Welsh player Barry John in action during the British Lions' tour of New Zealand, 1971.  Getty

During that New Zealand tour, local journalists gave John the nickname “The King".

John played his club rugby for Llanelli and then Cardiff.

“Barry John died peacefully today at the University Hospital of Wales surrounded by his loving wife and four children," the family statement read.

“He was a loving dad to his 11 grandchildren and much-loved brother.”

Cardiff said the club was “devastated” to lean of the death of John, who it described as an "absolute icon".

“Long live the King,” Cardiff said.

The Lions said on its official account on X that John “inspired so many and will forever be remembered for how much he gave to the sport".

John's death comes four weeks after that of another Wales rugby great, JPR Williams.

  • British And Irish Lions
  • Wales rugby

IMAGES

  1. British and Irish Lions announce historic tour to New Zealand in 2027

    british lions tour to new zealand

  2. British Lions tour to New Zealand: Jared Payne, Ben Te'o the big winner in team naming

    british lions tour to new zealand

  3. Where is the next Lions tour? What to expect in 2021 as New Zealand tour comes to an end

    british lions tour to new zealand

  4. 1888 British Lions tour to New Zealand and Australia

    british lions tour to new zealand

  5. Livestream: 2017 British Lions tour to New Zealand squad announcement

    british lions tour to new zealand

  6. 1971. THE BRITISH LIONS IN NEW ZEALAND

    british lions tour to new zealand

VIDEO

  1. British & Irish Lions

  2. British & Irish Lions

  3. Lions Tour 2021 Match Highlights: v Sigma Lions

  4. Lions Tour 2021 Press Conference: Chris Harris and Wyn Jones

  5. England 0-1 New Zealand

  6. Lions Tour 2021: Match Highlights v Japan

COMMENTS

  1. 2017 British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand

    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 ...

  2. 1971 British Lions tour to New Zealand and Australia

    1. 1. In 1971 the British Lions toured New Zealand, also playing two matches in Australia. Despite losing the first match to Queensland the tour was a great success, the Lions winning the Test series against the All Blacks. They are still the only Lions side to have won a Test series in New Zealand. The side was captained by John Dawes, coached ...

  3. British & Irish Lions

    New Zealand. [more] 22 March 2017 17:16 Reading Time: 2 mins. The first Tour took place in 1888 but The British & Irish Lions did not meet New Zealand in a Test match until their clash at Wellington in 1904. The sides will meet on three occasions during the 2017 Tour with the first Test set to take place at Eden Park in Auckland on June 24.

  4. British & Irish Lions

    The 1977 British Lions tour to New Zealand saw the Lions drop only one non-test out of 21 games, a loss to a Universities side. The team did not win the test series though, winning one game but losing the other three. In August 1977 the British Lions made a stopover in Fiji on the way home from their tour of New Zealand.

  5. British and Irish Lions announce historic tour to New Zealand in 2027

    The British and Irish Lions have announced they will send a women's side to New Zealand for a historic three-Test series with the Black Ferns in September 2027. In a first for the Lions which comes as a significant boost for the sport, the hugely anticipated tour will feature three showdowns against the current world champions.

  6. British & Irish Lions

    The 2017 British & Irish Lions Tour to New Zealand ended in a tied series with the All Blacks, enjoy the top tries from the Tour.#Lions #LionsRugby #BritishA...

  7. British & Irish Lions tour: Five things we learned from tour of New Zealand

    At the end of the Rugby Championship last year, New Zealand's lead over England at the top of the world rankings was 7.07 points. Before the third Test on Saturday, it had dropped to 4.64 and ...

  8. British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand: History, opportunity and

    On the eve of the first game of the 2017 tour to New Zealand, Sean Fitzpatrick, Keith Wood and Ieuan Evans run the rule over what lies ahead. In Melbourne 2013, the British & Irish Lions made ...

  9. Full coverage of the British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand

    The British & Irish Lions have ended a gruelling 10-game tour of New Zealand with a record of five wins, three losses and two draws. ESPN has been there every step of the way. The three-Test ...

  10. Statement: British and Irish Lions set for historic tour of New Zealand

    The British and Irish Lions have been a staple of rugby lore ever since their first tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1888. The tours, which take place every four years, are always met with much anticipation and excitement, with fans getting the opportunity to see the greatest players from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales come together to take on a common enemy.

  11. Lions Tours to New Zealand

    The British and Irish Lions tours to New Zealand have been taking place for over 120 years. Not all tours were officially sanctioned and the name of the touring team has changed over the years. But the legacy remains and the tours are a much anticipated event. Up to 1971 the Lions toured Australia and New Zealand in one tour.

  12. British & Irish Lions announce itinerary for 2025 Tour of Australia

    The British & Irish Lions have today released the nine-match schedule for the 2025 Tour to Australia including three Test matches against the Wallabies. Two years out from the Tour, it's been confirmed that the eagerly awaited Test clashes will take place on 19 July, 26 July and 2 August. The Lions will travel to Brisbane, Melbourne, and ...

  13. History of rugby union matches between New Zealand and the British

    In rugby union, New Zealand first played against the British & Irish Lions in 1904, beating them 9-3 at Athletic Park, Wellington. Since then, there has been a total of 41 Test matches between the two teams, with the All Blacks winning 30 matches, the Lions winning seven and four draws. The most recent test, held at Eden Park, Auckland, on 8 ...

  14. British and Irish Lions to play combined New Zealand-Australia XV on

    By Chris Jones. BBC rugby union correspondent. The British and Irish Lions will play a New Zealand and Australia invitational XV as part of their nine-match tour down under in 2025. The historic ...

  15. Remembering the first British and Irish Lions Tour

    The World Rugby Museum is home to a number of items from this tour, including the jersey worn by A.P. 'Alf' Penketh. Of the 54 matches contested against New Zealand and Australia on this tour, Penketh would would play 19 and would even score a try against Canterbury on the 9th May 1888. Born in 1865, Alf Penketh was a native of the Isle of Man.

  16. British & Irish Lions schedule first women's tour to New Zealand in 2027

    British & Irish Lions have confirmed their first-ever women's tour to New Zealand in 2027. Selected from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, the Lions men have been one of the game's iconic ...

  17. British and Irish Lions to make historic first women's tour of New Zealand

    The British and Irish Lions will send a women's team on tour for the first time with a historic trip to New Zealand for a three-Test series in September 2027. Israel-Hamas war Cannes Film Festival

  18. British and Irish Lions to face New Zealand in first women's tour in

    The British and Irish Lions have announced a first women's tour - a trip to New Zealand in 2027. The tour will be held in September and include three Test matches against the six-time world ...

  19. Category:British & Irish Lions tours of New Zealand

    Pages in category "British & Irish Lions tours of New Zealand" The following 13 pages are in this category, out of 13 total. This list may not reflect recent changes. 0-9. 1888 British Lions tour to New Zealand and Australia; 1904 British Lions tour to Australia and New Zealand;

  20. British & Irish Lions Tour

    Find British & Irish Lions Tour start times and where to watch on New Zealand streaming platforms. ... Where to watch British & Irish Lions Tour games in New Zealand: Streaming online, dates & times. Fixtures. British & Irish Lions v Argentina, Irish Test. Rugby / British & Irish Lions Tour. Sat, 21 Jun.

  21. Rugby news 2024, Barry John dead, British and Irish Lions great

    February 4, 2024 - 7.05pm. Barry John, the rugby great who played 25 games for Wales and inspired the British and Irish Lions' famous series victory over New Zealand in 1971 before retiring at the age of 27, has died. He was 79. John ' s family announced his death in a statement released to British media, saying he died peacefully in the ...

  22. 2005 British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand

    W. D. L. New Zealand. 3. 0. 0. 3. In 2005, the British & Irish Lions rugby union team toured New Zealand for the first time since 1993, playing seven matches against first and second division teams from the National Provincial Championship, one match against the New Zealand Maori team, and three test matches against New Zealand (the All Blacks).

  23. 1888 British Lions tour to New Zealand and Australia

    0 0. The 1888 British Isles tour to New Zealand and Australia was a tour by a British rugby union team, known at the time as the "English Footballers", [1] throughout New Zealand and Australia. Although a private venture not organised by any official body, this was the first major tour of the Southern Hemisphere undertaken by a European rugby team.

  24. 2025 British & Irish Lions tour to Australia

    Schedule. The fixtures for the tour were announced on 19 July 2023. The tour will culminate with a three-match test series between the British & Irish Lions and the Australia national team, and will also feature matches against Australia's five Super Rugby franchises. The Lions will open the tour with matches against the Western Force, Queensland Reds, New South Wales Waratahs and ACT Brumbies ...