Capital gets lion's share of big test matches

10 July 2015

Wellington’s Mayor and Deputy Mayor have welcomed today’s announcement that two matches of the New Zealand British & Irish Lions 2017 Series will be played in the Capital – and that they’ll be back-to-back.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says people who recall the Lions’ 2005 visit will remember the great celebration and festivities that lifted the spirits of the city – “whether we won or lost the rugby it didn’t matter, everyone was having a good time.”

Deputy Mayor Justin Lester says in 2005 “the city was jumping – the travelling fans took over Oriental Bay with their camper vans, there were cruise liners full of fans docked in the harbour – it was a huge and memorable event.”

Councillor Lester says the fact the Lions will play the Hurricanes and then the All Blacks within the same week means the travelling fans, their humour and banter – and their wallets - will stay in the region for longer.

“We’re already talking to New Zealand Rugby, the local hospo sector and other interested parties to make sure the 2017 tour is just as good, if not better.”

Cr Lester has also welcomed the announcement of the two big tests – against Wales and then Australia – at Westpac Stadium in 2016. “These are both big games, against famous foes. We’re very pleased to be hosting these matches.”

“Four international rugby matches in the next two years is undoubtedly the strongest schedule we have seen at Westpac Stadium outside of the Rugby World Cup,” says Westpac Stadium Chief Executive Shane Harmon.

“Following sell-out test matches in 2013 and 2014, as well as the recent Super Rugby semi-finals and final, we expect the full-house signs to go up for every match.”

Jeremy Smith, President of the Wellington Hospitality Association, says: “We are extremely excited about the British and Irish lions coming here in 2017 – we’ve been eagerly waiting their return since 2005.

“These events are a massive boost to the Wellington economy and with back-to-back games it will be bigger and better than 2005. We’re sure the whole of the region will get behind this great occasion.

“It is fantastic to see two tests scheduled against Wales and Australia in 2016. The Welsh fans will follow this tour in big numbers and we know from the past that an Australian test will bring a large number of supporters from Australia. They are a group of fans that will enjoy what wellington has to offer.

Wellington City Council has done an outstanding job and should be congratulated for securing these games.”

The matches announced today:

Home Team Visiting Team Venue Date
 All Blacks Wales Westpac Stadium, Wellington Saturday
18 June 2016
 All Blacks Australia Westpac Stadium, Wellington Saturday
27 August 2016
 Hurricanes British & Irish Lions Westpac Stadium, Wellington Tuesday
27 June 2017
 All Blacks British & Irish Lions Westpac Stadium, Wellington Saturday
1 July 2017