'Everyone's here, everyone's massively excited' - Lions pumped to finally start New Zealand rugby tour

The long wait is almost over.

After years of build up, the British and Irish Lions squad arrives in New Zealand tomorrow afternoon, with just two days to find their feet in Auckland before playing the Provincial Barbarians in Northland on Saturday.

The team hasn't even touched down in the country and already there’s a sense of some irony here with the Lions sponsored by and flying with an Australian airline to face a New Zealand team.

The squad of 41 plus a huge backroom staff left London early yesterday morning.

You can watch a live stream on 1 NEWS Now of the squad's arrival later this morning

English first-five Owen Farrell said the tour is finally sinking in.

"We've had the kit on for a week,” he said.

"We've been training together, everyone's here, everyone's massively excited."

The Lions players, or those still not involved with their clubs, have been rooming in camp the past week in Ireland with team-mates outside their normal national squads.

Lions fans await their team's arrival at Auckland Airport
Lions fans await their team's arrival at Auckland Airport Source: 1 NEWS

The game plan books will be open on the long flight over, given they'll play just 72 hours after landing.

"It's not just the time you put in on the pitch," Farrell said.

"You've got plenty of time off it as well to make sure you're in a good enough place to be prepared."

The Lions stayed in Melbourne last night to try adjust early to time zones.

A second string team is likely to be selected for the curtain-raiser in Whangarei with players coming from recent club finals likely to be rested.

It also means head coach Warren Gatland won’t be giving too much away before the real challenge of the All Blacks.

"I don't think anyone's going out there just to take part," Farrell said.

"Everybody firmly believes that you're going out there to win – that's the way it should be."

The Lions land in Auckland at lunchtime today.

Game on.