|Lions Tour of New Zealand 2017 – The Facts and Figures You Should Know|
Wednesday, 19 April 2017 14:49
By Christian Radnedge
The squad for the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand was announced this week by head coach Warren Gatland with many anticipating a ferocious contest later this year.
The initial squad is made up of 41 players with 16 from England, 12 from Wales, 11 from Ireland and two from Scotland.
Here are some more facts and figures you should know before the tour begins in June:
- The Lions will play ten matches, including against all five New Zealand Super Rugby franchises, the New Zealand Barbarians, the Maori All Blacks and three Test matches against New Zealand.
- Warren Gatland remains as head coach having led the Lions to victory in Australia in 2013.
- Sam Warburton is once again preferred as captain, having led the side four years ago. He joins Martin Johnson as the only players to captain back-to-back Lions Tours.
- The first Lions Tour took place in 1888, when Englishman and captain Robert Seddon led 22 players on a 249-day expedition to Australia and New Zealand.
- England’s Maro Itoje is the youngest player included at the age of 22.
- At 34, Rory Best of Ireland is the oldest player in the squad.
- Auckland’s Eden Park will host the most matches, with three being played there, two of which will be Test matches. Westpac Stadium in Wellington will host two matches while the other matches will be played in Whangarei, Christchurch, Dunedin, Rotorua and Hamilton.
- The 2017 Tour includes 11 major sponsors, with Standard Life Investments the principal and official jersey sponsor of the Lions having signed a deal to replace HSBC early last year.
- The Tour begins on June 3 and will finish on July 8.