Visiting Saracens all about business
Saracens, the present Aviva Premiership and European Cup champions, will return to Bermuda for a third time this summer — and this time it is serious.
Saracens, as well as Premiership club Harlequins and Greene King IPA Championship side London Irish, have visited Bermuda over the past four years to take part in an exhibition game — the Atlantic Cup — against the Bermuda Barbarians.
Relaxed, low-key, and with little in the way of hard rugby, the trip has traditionally been used to let those players not on international duty unwind away from the glare of fans and media, while raising funds for Beyond Rugby Bermuda.
However, this summer it will be all business, with the Saracens squad expected to include several internationals and British Lions players.
The London club are scheduled to spend a week of their pre-season in early August on the island, with a game against a United States side thrown into the mix.
Saracens are scheduled to arrive on Sunday, August 6, and depart the following Sunday. Their squad of 65 will take part in a training camp at the National Sports Centre, and on Thursday, August 10, will play against a United States XV.
“Saracens are arguably the best rugby club in the world at present and we are delighted to welcome them back, Gareth Nokes, the Bermuda Rugby Football Union chairman, said.
“The Atlantic Rugby Cup event itself was forced to move due to the America’s Cup, however, this has proven to be a blessing in disguise. With the match being a pre-season as opposed a postseason game it will be the most competitive in the event’s history, and there is great excitement in the US with the creation of the islanders team.”
The US side is expected to be a newly created USA Islanders team, including players Tongan, Samoan, Hawaiian and Fijian descent, and is reportedly based on the concept of the New Zealand Maori team.
Officials are hoping the Islanders will play six or seven games a year and expect the side to be able to compete on an international stage.
“Our charity, Beyond Rugby Bermuda, is so grateful to Saracens and previously Harlequins for coming here and assisting our fundraising needs upon which we rely so heavily,” Nokes said. “It promises to be a fantastic week with a gala dinner and corporate golf day planned — it will give our sponsors chance to rub shoulders with some of the world’s best players.”
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