Lewis Moody has backed the idea of playing a domestic English rugby fixture in Bermuda after the huge success of Saracens’ tour.
The English Premiership side’s fundraising trip to the island was capped off with a 55-21 win over a Bermuda International Select XV, which Moody managed, on Friday night at the National Sports Centre.
The former England captain and World Cup winner was hugely impressed by the turnout and enthusiasm for the match and believes staging a bona fide cup or league fixture on the island would be ‘something special’.
Harlequins beat Wasps in the LV= Cup two years ago in Abu Dhabi — the first UK fixture to be played overseas. And while Bermuda is unlikely to be able to compete with the riches at the UAE capital’s disposal, Moody said Bermuda would be an ideal venue.
He told the Bermuda Sun: “Everyone has thoroughly enjoyed it, mixing with the Sarries boys and the locals, it’s been a special occasion and something that can be repeated. I’d love that to happen.
“It’s something that certainly Saracens would buy into, if you could get Harlequins or Leicester and actually play a game over here that would be something special wouldn’t it? They’ve done it in Abu Dhabi, so why not do it in Bermuda? I think it’s a long shot but anything’s possible.”
Moody heaped praise on the Select XV who, while outplayed for large parts of the first half, dug deep to ensure the match was always competitive.
The former Leicester man said: “I loved it. For a group of guys who range from fellas who have played the game a little bit for local Bermuda teams to fully capped international legends like Simon Taylor and Geordan Murphy, Mike Petrie, Shaun Perry, George Chuter and a truckload of Canadians and Americans, they came together and played their hearts out in a game that really shouldn’t have meant anything to them.
“It just shows what rugby does to you. It creates a bond even between the most unlikely of compatriots. Canadians and Americans spend most of their time hating each other but on Friday they came together!”
He added: “Having Saracens here is just great for Bermuda. They made a spectacle of it too for fans who don’t get to see a lot of rugby.
“I missed the training session so Geordan has been captain, coach and everything else. So I can’t speak highly enough of Geordan and all the guys who came and made the effort to play. It’s been a brilliant spectacle and I think all the organisation Gareth Nokes has put into it has been outstanding.”
Saracens lock Mouritz Botha said the Bermuda side gave the Sarries a good working over despite the ‘friendly’ fixture and hopes the club can return soon.
He told the Bermuda Sun: “The game was pretty tough – we’re not used to playing in this type of weather, it’s plenty warm out there.
“It was really enjoyable, hard and physical and played in a good spirit. It got tasty a couple of times. We’re rugby players – when they whistle goes, we go for it!
It’s been fantastic, an amazing island and I hope we come back.”