Saracens hoping to return to Bermuda to defend Atlantic Cup
Saracens 55 Bermuda International Select XV 21
Saracens fly half Charlie Hodgson said his team would likely return to the Island next summer to defend their Atlantic Cup after defeating a Bermuda International Select XV at the National Sports Centre.
The former England international was among a slew of star names in the Sarries line-up that took on a Select XV featuring rugby legends of their own in the form of George Chuter and Geordan Murphy.
Saracens, who reached the semi-finals of the Aviva Premiership and Heineken Cup last season, dominated the entertaining match in front of an enthusiastic crowd at the North Field, taking an early lead through flanker Jackson Fray.
They continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession with Fray competing a hat-trick of tries before the Select XV, including USA, Canadian and Bermuda national team players, fought back to give the scoreline an air of respectability.
Hodgson, who won 36 caps for England, praised the Select XV for their committed approach to the game but believed Saracens’ extra quality proved to be the difference.
“We had a lot of fun out there tonight. With it being the end of a long, hard season, I guess we’ve been on our holidays for a few weeks and it was a bit of a shock to the system,” said the 32-year-old.
“It was a competitive game and the contact was quite full-on at times. To be honest, we expected nothing less and when our lads get on the field you know you’re going to get a hundred percent off everybody.
“I think our difference in skill told in the end but there was no lacking in commitment from anybody tonight. The Select team had some very good players and obviously we fielded a strong team with some of our talented young lads coming through.”
The Saracens Fundraising Week has seen the team visit schools and run coaching workshops in an effort to raise the profile of rugby on the Island.
The trip is expected to raise $50,000 for the Beyond Rugby Programme.
Hodgson added: “The purpose to be here was to promote rugby for Bermuda and raise money for the (Beyond Rugby) charity and I think we’ve done that.
“We’ve all had a great time and really enjoyed getting involved in the local community and hopefully we can repeat it again next year.
“We didn’t know what to expect before we got here, but everybody has been very welcoming and it obviously showed tonight by the support we had.
“By the sounds of it we will be back again next year to defend the cup, which would be ideal. Bermuda is a great place to come and play rugby.”