Stadium in Focus: Eden Park
The spiritual home of the All Blacks, Eden Park traditionally provides the finale of a Lions Tour to New Zealand and it will be no different in 2017.
The Lions will play both the first and third Test at Eden Park
The first and third Tests will be held at the ground but the Lions got an early glimpse when they took on the Blues there back in the second game on Tour on June 7.
Eden Park – founded in 1900 – is home to both the Blues and the Auckland ITM Cup side and is New Zealand’s largest and most iconic stadium with a capacity of 50,000.
Every year the stadium – located in the Kingsland suburb in the heart of Auckland – hosts almost half a million sports fans.
It was cricketer Harry Ryan who first came up with the idea of using the swamp ground for sport, then the Auckland Rugby Union leased the Park in 1913 before the All Blacks played their first Test there in 1921 against the Springboks.
The Lions first Test in Auckland was back in 1908 at Potter’s Park and their initial matches at Eden Park were in 1930 when they faced Auckland and New Zealand.
A $256 million redevelopment was completed in October 2010 to provide a permanent capacity of 50,000, with a further 10,000 temporary seats for the 2011 Rugby World Cup games including the final.
Winning at Eden Park is a rare achievement. The All Blacks have not lost at the ground since 1994 and are on a 37-Test unbeaten streak there.
It has been the site of some of the Lions most legendary encounters.
In 1971 those famous, history-making Lions claimed a 14-14 draw thanks to JPR Williams’ legendary drop goal, while six years later the 1977 Lions went down by just one point despite the heroics of Dougie Morgan.
The only Lions Test win on the ground belongs to the 1959 tourists, who claimed a famous victory with tries from Bev Risman, Tony O’Reilly and Peter Jackson in their final match before heading home.
June 7 – The British & Irish Lions vs Auckland Blues – The Blues won 22-16
June 24 – The British & Irish Lions vs All Blacks (First Test)
July 10 – The British & Irish Lions vs All Blacks (Third Test)