The four-year wait for the next British and Irish Lions tour is nearly over. The coaching staff is going through the painstaking process of narrowing down its multi-national roster to a 37-man touring squad, which is expected to be announced on April 19.
For some, the wait is just too much, and there is no shortage of speculation of who should be on the team and who shouldn't make the cut. But as any former Lions selection can attest, there is a lot more that goes into the decision-making process than what the public can perceive.
"It's obviously the greatest honor you can have as a northern hemisphere rugby player," said David Sole, a 1989 tour member, in a Lions Rugby interview.
While we are still unsure of the Lions' 2017 tour selections -- and perhaps most intriguingly who will be the team's captain -- we do know who they will be playing.
The British & Irish Lions are returning to New Zealand in June and touring the nation for the first time since 2005. Four years ago, the Lions toured Australia and won their three-test series with the Wallabies 2-1. The Lions' only other loss during their trip was to the Brumbies, a Super Rugby team.
Along with its three test matches against New Zealand this year, the Lions will be taking on all four of New Zealand's Super Rugby teams, the New Zealand Barbarians, and the Maori All Blacks. The British and Irish Lions open against the Barbarians on June 3 at Toll Stadium in the northern New Zealand city of Whangarei.
British & Irish Lions 2017 Schedule
|June 3||New Zealand Provincial Barbarians|
|June 17||Maori All Blacks|
|June 24||New Zealand|
|July 1||New Zealand|
|July 8||New Zealand|