Millom old boy Marcus O’Brien is one of seven Cumbria-based players getting ready to fly out with England Community Lions this week for their tour of New Zealand.

O’Brien these days plays for Egremont Rangers, who ply their trade in the Premier Division of the National Conference League, and he and the rest of the 22-man squad have each had to stump up £3,000 in funding so they can make their way to the Southern Hemisphere.

His Egremont teammates Keiran Glen and Tom Horner are also part of the touring party, as are Wath Brow Hornets trio Karl Dixon, Fran King and Curtis Teare and Kells’ Tony Burns.

Under head coach Richard Owen, the Lions will fly to New Zealand on Saturday and will be in the country at the same time as the Great Britain Lions, who will be embarking on their first overseas tour since 2006.

The Lions have been preparing since the beginning of last month, but they will only have five days to acclimatise to their new surroundings before playing their first match against New Zealand Select on Thursday, October 24, two days before Great Britain open their own tour against Tonga.

The tour then continues with a tough match against the New Zealand Maoris the following week and concludes against the New Zealand Residents before the squad flies home to England on Monday, November 4.