Lions to play three Tests

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The Independent Online

The British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand in the summer of 2005 will consist of 10 matches, including a three-Test series against the All Blacks.

The Test matches will be played in Christchurch on 25 June, Wellington a week later and the series will culminate at Auckland's Eden Park on 9 July.

The Lions, to be coached by Clive Woodward, will play provincial sides rather than Super 12 franchises but will not face domestic champions Auckland, as indicated in the schedule which was leaked three weeks ago.

"As it is 12 years since the British and Irish Lions toured New Zealand it is high time we renewed our long-held traditions with the country in general and the All Blacks in particular," Bill Beaumont, the Lions' chairman and tour manager, said.

BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS FIXTURES FOR NEW ZEALAND TOUR 2005: 4 June: Bay of Plenty (Rotorua International Stadium); 8 June: Taranaki (Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth); 11 June: NZ Maori (Waikato Stadium, Hamilton); 15 June: Wellington (Westpac Stadium, Wellington); 18 June: Otago (Carisbrook, Dunedin); 21 June: Southland (Rugby Park Stadium, Invercargill); 25 June: FIRST TEST (Jade Stadium, Christchurch); 28 June: Manawatu (Arena Manawatu, Palmerston North); 2 July: SECOND TEST (Westpac Stadium, Wellington); 9 July THIRD TEST (Eden Park, Auckland).