The Blues were the first side to dominate the southern hemisphere’s new professional domestic scene in the mid-1990s. The Auckland-based side won the competition in each of its first two seasons, 1996 and 1997, and again in 2003.
In the last decade the Chiefs have become one of the stand-out sides in Super Rugby. Founded in 1996, it took them until 2009 to make their first final – they were defeated by the Bulls – but in 2012 they hit the big time by winning their maiden title.
There is no more successful team than the Crusaders in Super Rugby history having enjoyed a period of domestic dominance comparable to England’s Leicester Tigers. The Crusaders won seven titles over a span of ten years but their last triumph arrived in 2008 and they have suffered a succession of near-misses since.
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.
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.
The Lions will kick off the 2017 Tour with a clash against the New Zealand Barbarians on June 3 at Toll Stadium in Whangarei. Founded in 1937 by two former All Blacks, Ronald Bus and Hubert McLean, the New Zealand Baa Baas are an invitational team.