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Sky VR, in partnership with Sky Sports, has created an immersive 360° documentary ahead of the Lions' first Test in New Zealand.

Sky VR is bringing rugby union to life like never before with ‘Finding Haka’, allowing viewers to experience the legacy of the Haka in a whole new light.

The production is a cinematic journey into the heart of New Zealand to discover the passion, dedication and understanding it takes to perform the famous ritual. This unique virtual reality film will take viewers on the intimate journey of a young Maori man exploring the ancient cultural traditions that drive the roots of rugby in New Zealand.

The film is officially released at 5pm on Friday 23 June, the day before Warren Gatland's British and Irish Lions take on New Zealand in the first Test of the series, which will be shown exclusively live on Sky Sports 1 from 7:30am.

Neil Graham, Sky’s VR Executive Producer, said: “Finding Haka’ is a one-of-a-kind VR experience that transports the viewer into the heart of the world’s most iconic sporting and cultural ritual. A huge part of this tour is the pride that comes with striving to represent both the Lions and New Zealand, and this film really encapsulates that, bringing those experiences to life.”

The film’s award-winning VR director, James Hedley, commented: “I wanted to create a powerful and important film that highlights the significance of preserving cultural identity and heritage. The power, the rawness and the eruption of emotion of the Haka is overwhelming; it begged to be explored in VR. I hope the film will resonate with not only sports fans but also detached youths and history fanatics around the world.”

‘Finding Haka’ is available via the Sky VR app, which is free of charge to download. The film continues Sky Sports’ commitment to innovation and is one of Sky’s most ambitious 360° films to date including dramatic reconstructions and interview with key Maori Haka experts. The new VR experience was produced by immersive content studio Surround Vision, in partnership with Sky VR, using cutting edge techniques to build an exhilarating experience for the viewer. It is available to view on iOS, Android and select other devices with a compatible VR headset.

Sky Sports uses virtual reality to give sports fans an immersive viewing experience like no other. Previous Sky VR productions include exclusive Premier League football experiences, Anthony Joshua/ Wladimir Klitschko VR and ‘Sky Sports: Closer’ with David Beckham.

The British and Irish Lions tour is part of the biggest ever Summer of Sport on Sky, which also includes live action from England cricket Test matches against South Africa and the West Indies, golf majors such as The Open, US Open and the Women’s British Open for the first time and F1® from Silverstone.

Gus Williamson, Sky Sports Head of Rugby, commented: “We are going all out this summer with our Lions coverage, bringing the excitement in New Zealand to screens back in the UK and Ireland. From Scott Quinnell in the Fan Van, to virtual player graphics, bespoke documentaries and this virtual reality film, we are bringing every aspect of the Lions tour to life.”

British and Irish Lions Test schedule

Saturday 24 June
08:35 New Zealand v British and Irish Lions (Sky Sports 1)

Tuesday 27 June
08:35 Hurricanes v British and Irish Lions (Sky Sports 1)

Saturday 1 July
08:35 New Zealand v British and Irish Lions (Sky Sports 1)

Saturday 8 June
08:35 New Zealand v British and Irish Lions (Sky Sports 1)