* The British and Irish Lions are a combined rugby team made up of the best players from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Although officially established in 1910, Lions sides have been visiting the Southern Hemisphere since 1888 when the first team toured Australia and New Zealand. The first ever game was an 8-3 win over Dunedin.

* Out of a total of 35 Tests played between New Zealand and the Lions, New Zealand has won 26 to the Lions' six with three drawn. The Lions' only series victory in New Zealand was in 1971 when the tourists prevailed 2-1, with one drawn Test.

* This will mark the 11th tour to New Zealand by the Lions and the first rugby tour to New Zealand in the professional era. The Lions last toured New Zealand in 1993.

* The Lions name started between WW1 and WW2 and was taken from the jersey emblem.

* An estimated 15,000 Barmy Army fans are coming to New Zealand for the tour. The majority of fans will come for the three Tests against the All Blacks.

* An estimated 1000–1500 campervans will be travelling around the country. They will be joined by an estimated 150-180 tour buses. A cruise ship, the Pacific Sky, has been booked for the tour. It can accommodate around 1200 people.

* The Lions Tour is expected to generate more than $50 million to the New Zealand economy.

* The British and Irish Lions team will be coached by England's Rugby World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward who will bring 44 players and 27 management staff.

* Recent tour results:

Australia 2001
Lions 29-13 Australia, Brisbane
Lions 14-35 Australia, Melbourne
Lions 23-29 Australia, Sydney
Australia won series 2-1

South Africa 1997
Lions 25-16 South Africa, Cape Town
Lions 18-15 South Africa, Durban
Lions 16-35 South Africa, Johannesburg
Lions won series 2-1

New Zealand 1993
Lions 18-20 All Blacks, Christchurch
Lions 20-7 All Blacks, Wellington
Lions 13-30 All Blacks, Auckland
All Blacks won series 2-1