Bath Rugby Club players, including British Lions Lee Mears and Danny Grewcock, joined Lord Bath at Longleat near Warminster to help launch a new art project.

Longleat and Bath Rugby Club are sponsors of the Lions of Bath art project, which will see 100 majestic lion sculptures on display in the city from next month.

British Lions and Bath players Danny Grewcock and Lee Mears were joined by team mates Matt Banahan, Butch James, Michael Claassens, Nick Abendanon and David Flatman at the launch.

Mears said: “We really enjoyed spending some time at Longleat. I took my family back the next day to show them the real lions.”

Proceeds from the project will be donated to local charities Off the Record, Quartet Community Foundation and the Mayor’s Relief Fund for Bath.

The players also got chance to handle a corn snake and tarantula, and England winger Matt Banahan said: “I wasn’t planning on holding a snake but I’m really glad that I did.

“It was pretty nerve- wracking but when you can feel every muscle as he moved I realised what amazing creatures snakes are.”