With thousands of rapid British Lions fans about to descend on New Zealand, All Black legend Wayne "Buck" Shelford is spearheading a campaign to find beds for our honoured guests.

The International Rugby Club has launched the "Bring Back Billeting" initiative, a clever play on the "Bring Back Buck" movement of the 1990s, which offers to match Lions supporters with local hospitality, especially in provincial regions where accommodation is scarce.

What could be more Kiwi than billeting?

Shelford, a founding member of the IRC, recalls some of his greatest memories came from staying with host families on rugby trips.

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Bring Back Buck banner in crowd at Rotorua International Stadium 2008. Photo/Photosport
Bring Back Buck banner in crowd at Rotorua International Stadium 2008. Photo/Photosport

"They welcomed us into their homes, fed us and we often became friends," he says. "It was just good old kiwi hospitality or manaakitanga."

About 20,000 fans are expected during June/July for the Lions' 10-match, three-test tour, which takes in provincial centres like Whangarei (NZ Barbarians) and Rotorua (Maori All Blacks).

Even major cities like Christchurch and Dunedin may struggle to cope with the influx of visitors, hence the beauty of this billeting scheme.

IRC co-founder Tony Molloy says this programme offers the Brits (and Irish) a chance to experience Kiwi culture at its finest, while also providing rugby clubs with a valuable fundraising opportunity.

The International Rugby Club was created as an online club to connect the global rugby community.

"While fundraising for local rugby clubs is core to everything we do, we also want to bring together like-minded - aka rugby-mad people - and create some memorable experiences and hopefully long-lasting mateships," says Molloy.

To register for the Bring Back Billeting programme, simply visit the IRC website and nominate the rugby club to benefit from your support.