The tour will include three matches against the All Blacks, with theTestseries starting in Christchurch on June 25th.
British and Irish Lions Chairman Bill Beaumont said: "As it is 12 years since the British and Irish Lions toured New Zealand it is high time we renewed our long held traditions with the country in general and the AllBlacks in particular.
"The tour itself promises to challenge the 2005 Lions from startto finishwith a series of difficult assignments but I am absolutely sure thatwewill rise to that challenge.
"The huge level of interest and enthusiasm shown by the NewZealand publicin the tour, even already, will be undoubtedly one of the highlightsofthis tour and we are very much looking forward to meeting all of thecommunities we will have the pleasure of visiting while in thecountry.
"Any Lions tour is a truly unique event in world rugby and I amconfidentthat this tour will be an exceptionally successful and rewardingexperiencefor all involved."
New Zealand Rugby Union Deputy Chief Executive Officer Steve Tewsaid: "Weexpect this to be one of the biggest sporting events the country haseverheld. The programme we have put in place reflects that, and shouldmaximisethe opportunity for all New Zealanders to see the Lions inaction."
"Additionally, it will allow the whole country to share in theeconomicbenefits that the tour will bring by providing a wonderfulopportunity forthe in excess of 10,000 Lions fans we anticipate will come to NewZealandto see as much of the country as is possible during their timehere."
The Lions will play matches in venues as far apart as Auckland at theupperend of the North Island, and Invercargill at the bottom tip of thesouth.
There are six weekend fixtures scheduled for the tour, which kicksoff witha game against Bay of Plenty at the Rotorua International Stadium onJune4th, and four midweek matches.
The tourists will gain a thorough preparation for the Tests throughsixlead-up matches, five against sides from the first division of theAir NewZealand NPC, as well as a fixture against New Zealand Maori.
The Lions' match against New Zealand Maori, at Waikato Stadium inHamiltonon June 11th, promises to be one of the individual highlights of thetour.
The two teams produced a classic match during the Lions' last visit 11years ago, with New Zealand Maori romping to a 20-0 halftime advantagebefore the tourists clawed their way back to win 24-20.
Another provincial contest that will be keenly anticipated is theLions'clash with Otago, who have beaten the Lions on four previous
There is just one midweek engagement remaining once the Test seriesbegins,with the Lions to play Manawatu at Palmerston North between the FirstandSecond Tests.
Manawatu is the only side from the lower divisions of the Air NewZealandNPC to have been awarded a fixture during the tour.
Westpac Stadium in Wellington will host the Lions twice. Wellingtonplaythe tourists on June 15th and the second Test will also be held at thegroundon July 2nd.The tour concludes with the Third Test at Eden Park in Auckland onJuly 9th.
The tour is the 11th by a combined British Isles side to New Zealand.Thefirst was in 1888 and the most recent 11 years ago.During that time, New Zealand have won 24 Tests to the Lions' six,including a 2-1 series victory in 1993 when the All Blacks won theFirstand Third Tests in Christchurch and Auckland respectively while thetourists prevailed in Wellington.
The Lions' only previous series victory in New Zealand was achievedin 1971when a side coached by Welshman Carwyn James prevailed 2-1, with thefourthand final Test in Auckland drawn.
British & Irish Lions Tour of New Zealand 2005 Fixtures List
Match 1: 4 June 2005, Bay of Plenty, Rotorua International StadiumMatch 2: 8 June 2005, Taranaki, Yarrow Stadium, New PlymouthMatch 3: 11 June 2005, NZ Maori, Waikato Stadium, HamiltonMatch 4: 15 June 2005, Wellington, Westpac Stadium, WellingtonMatch 5: 18 June 2005, Otago, Carisbrook, DunedinMatch 6: 21 June 2005, Southland, Rugby Park Stadium, InvercargillMatch 7: 25 June 2005, All Blacks, Jade Stadium, ChristchurchMatch 8: 28 June 2005, Manawatu Arena Manawatu, Palmerston NorthMatch 9: 2 July 2005, All Blacks, Westpac Stadium, WellingtonMatch 10: 9 July 2005, All Blacks, Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off times are yet to be finalised and will be subject todiscussionsbetween NZRFU, the British and Irish Lions and broadcasters.
In a separate but related development the British & Irish Lions arealsopleased to announce the appointment of the four official travelagents forthe New Zealand Tour. They are:1. Gullivers Sports Travel: Contact telephone +44 (01684) 293 175 orwww.gulliversports.co.uk2. Mike Burton Sports Travel: Contact telephone +44 (01452) 419 666 ore-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Titan Travel: Contact telephone +44 (0870) 754 1808 or email@example.com. ebookers: Contact telephone +44 (0870) 043 3822 or firstname.lastname@example.org