In the thick of it: Lewis Moody typically puts his body on the line playing for England. The World Cup star is on the island at the end of May to manage a Bermuda Select XV against a touring Saracens side at the National Sports Centre. *AFP Photo
In the thick of it: Lewis Moody typically puts his body on the line playing for England. The World Cup star is on the island at the end of May to manage a Bermuda Select XV against a touring Saracens side at the National Sports Centre. *AFP Photo

Former England captain Lewis Moody insists he will resist the temptation to pull the boots on again when he manages a Bermuda Select XV against Saracens on May 31 at the National Sports Centre.

Moody, who also played three Tests for the British and Irish Lions, helped pull together the opposition for the English Premiership club, who arrive on the island for a week-long tour on May 27 to raise money for the Beyond Rugby and Family Centre charities.

And the 2003 World Cup winner told the Bermuda Sun he was eager to build on his visit to the island last year — he attended a sports dinner — and help raise rugby’s profile as well as bolster Bermuda’s next World Cup qualifying campaign. He said: “I won’t be playing sadly – unless I get excited and run on the pitch! I spoke with a number of the guys when I was over last summer and they were all keen on doing something.

“The game as it transpired is what they want to put on, getting Saracens over and involved and putting together this Bermuda XV, which I’ve been helping with in terms of getting hold of some players and some old mates.

“It’s just going to be a fantastic game. Having a team like Saracens come over to the island is brilliant and it’s also brilliant for the Bermuda team itself.  

“For some of their players to have a runout against a professional outfit like Saracens is just a great step up on the ladder in terms of getting further along the road of improvement and getting further in the next World Cup campaign.”

Bermuda lost to Guyana in the semi-final of the Caribbean Regional Tournament, a qualifier for the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand where Moody led England to the quarters.

Top line-up

There are already a number of Bermudians — Pete Dunlop, Henry Paddison, Tony Ward and Dan Cole —  confirmed in the Select XV, and they will be joined by players with a wealth of international and top level rugby experience.

George Chuter (Eng), Anton Van Zyl (SA), Simon Taylor (Scot), Mike Petri (USA) and Sean Perry (Eng) are confirmed — as is captain Geordan Murphy (Ire). For Saracens, their party is likely to include Charlie Hodgson (Eng), Neil De Kock (SA), Jacques Burger (Nam) and Carlos Nieto (Ita). 

The match-up will be the  first taste of managerial experience for Moody — nicknamed Mad Dog for his uncompromising playing style — who admits he won’t be a hands-on boss.

He said: “It’s the first time I’ve ever managed anyone — but I think all I’ll be doing managerially is a loose description of what is needed!”

The first step on the managerial ladder?

“I don’t think so — it’s not something I’ll be hanging my hat on!”

For Moody, who got married in Bermuda in 2006, the purpose of the trip is clear: to enhance rugby on the island, something he is clearly passionate about. 

He said: “Across the world, if we want rugby to be a truly global game we need to embrace all the nations that are playing it and help them develop and see all the talent they have at their disposal. 

“I saw some of the young guys in Bermuda last year who were trying to get contracts abroad in the UK and Europe — we need to make the game completely global. The more people that get involved in rugby the more people watch it and love it.”

The tour also features coaching workshops and charity events. Keep reading the Sun for details or log on to www.facebook.com/SaracensFundraisingWeekInBermuda?fref=ts