The Lions will kick off the 2017 Tour with a clash against the New Zealand Barbarians on June 3. Founded in 1937 by two former All Blacks, Ronald Bus and Hubert McLean, the New Zealand Baa Baas are an invitational team.
The Auckland Blues were the first side to dominate the southern hemisphere's new professional domestic scene in the mid-90s but they've suffered something of a slump recently, having finished in the top four only once between since 2003.
Formed to represent the lower north island in 1996, the Hurricanes are the defending Super Rugby champions who count great names such as Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Jerry Collins and Jonah Lomu among their alumni.
New Zealand are the No.1 side in the world and in 2015 became the first-ever side to lift the Rugby World Cup twice in a row. Brazil may be crazy about football and Indians even more fervent over their cricket, but rugby is so deeply ensconced in New Zealand culture that it's impossible to imagine one without the other.