British & Irish Lions land in New Zealand ahead of tour
By Mark Ashenden
Last Updated: 31/05/17 10:44am
The British and Irish Lions landed in Auckland on Wednesday and were greeted by a Maori welcome ahead of their hugely anticipated tour.
The tourists touched down at midday local time after their 11,500-mile, two-day trip with the 41-strong squad and staff greeted by a haka before responding with the Welsh song 'Calon Lan' led by Wales hooker and choirmaster Ken Owens.
Captain Sam Warburton opened up to the world's media soon after landing as his side begin their preparations for the opener against a Provincial Barbarians XV on June 3.
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A tweet from the team's official account read: "What a fabulous welcome as we set foot on New Zealand soil for the first time ahead of #LionsNZ2017 #AllForOne."
Warburton said: "It's nice to finally be here - there has been a lot of talking so good to finally have your feet on the ground in New Zealand."
Warren Gatland's team flew out on the long-haul flight from Heathrow on Monday - just five days before their first match, which begins a run of 10 across seven different cities.
After the opener in Whangarei and before the first New Zealand Test, they face the Blues in Auckland on June 7 and the Crusaders in Christchurch on June 10.
Then it's the Highlanders three days later in Dunedin, the Maori All Blacks on June 17 in Rotorua, and the Chiefs in Hamilton on June 20.
They also face the Hurricanes in Wellington on June 27 before the second and third clashes with the All Blacks in early July.