GEORGE Grieve is swapping the muddy pitches of Oxfordshire for the warmer climates of Australia.

But it won’t be all barbecues and beaches, with the 20-year-old mentally preparing himself for what he describes as a “brutal” pre-season.

The back, who has scored eight tries for Banbury in English rugby’s sixth tier this campaign, is joining up with Manly Marlins in New South Wales.

Moving to a suburb of northern Sydney sounds pretty idyllic for most, but the youngster admits there is a hint of anxiety ahead of his flight on Monday.

“It’s a bit terrifying,” said Grieve.

“But I had a phone call with the head coach at Manly and he was very chilled about it.

“He said ‘come out, we’ll sort you out with jobs and accommodation. The boys are very accepting because they get quite a lot overseas players come over, it’s a great family’.

“That’s put me at ease a little bit, it’s still nerve-wracking, but I’m hoping it will be the experience I want it to be.”

Grieve came through the juniors and colts at Banbury, before joining National League 1 side Moseley for the 2016/17 campaign.

He has been back with the north Oxfordshire side this season and has been busy preparing himself for rugby Down Under.

Grieve said: “Last year when I was in Birmingham, everyone was saying if you want experience when you’re young and if you want to test yourself, Australia and New Zealand are the best places to go.

“I messaged a few teams and just went from there.

“I sent a rugby CV off with a highlights video and they said ‘you look like a decent player, come out and see what standard you can play’.”

He added: “I’ve been preparing and trying to get as fit as I can, because I’ll be going out there when they are mid-way through their pre-season.

“Hopefully I’ll be match-fit, but their fitness is apparently brutal, so I’ll prepare myself mentally for that, get over the jet-lag and then just get into it.

“I’m sure once I get out there it will be completely fine and people say it is like playing in England – just with nicer weather and without the muddy pitches.”