South Island venues 'can't handle' British and Irish Lions Tests - NZ Rugby boss

Auckland will play host to two of three Tests during the British and Irish Lions tour in 2017, New Zealand Rugby boss Steve Tew confirmed today in Wellington.

Eden Park will host the All Blacks and Lions twice, on June 24 and July 8, with Wellington picking up the only other Test on July 1. 

The news comes as a blow to fans around the South Island's traditional Test venues, with Christchurch's AMI Stadium left out. The city hosted the first Test of the Lions' 2005 tour to New Zealand. 

"You've got to be realistic," Tew said. "We cannot host a British and Irish Lions Test in Christchurch with the stadium that's there.

"It's just not up to this level of fixture."

Despite the views of most people that live south of here, it would be a considerable struggle for Dunedin to cope with the logistics of the hordes of fans that are travelling. - NZ Rugby boss Steve Tew

The only Lions games played in the south will be against the Crusaders and Highlanders on June 10 and 13.

The 10-match tour, which opens with a game against a combined provincial XV in Whangarei, will also see the Lions pitted against New Zealand's three other Super Rugby franchises as well as the Maori All Blacks.

Christchurch's AMI Stadium hosts a Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and Chiefs. Source: Photosport

The Lions' last tour to New Zealand was 10 years ago under World Cup-winning England coach Sir Clive Woodward, where they were whitewashed 3-0 by the All Blacks.

The Lions have lost four successive Test series against New Zealand, with their last series victory coming in 1971.

British and Irish Lions 2017 tour fixtures:

June 3 - provincial union XV, Whangarei

June 7 - Blues, Auckland

June 10 - Crusaders, Christchurch

June 13 - Highlanders, Dunedin

June 17 - Maori All Blacks, Rotorua

June 20 - Chiefs, Hamilton

June 24 - New Zealand, first Test, Auckland

June 27 - Hurricanes, Wellington

July 1 - New Zealand, second Test, Wellington

July 8 - New Zealand, third Test, Auckland.