Island trip: Aviva Premiership Saracens were overwhelmed by the hospitality on their first tour of Bermuda and will return for a second visit in June. *File photo
Island trip: Aviva Premiership Saracens were overwhelmed by the hospitality on their first tour of Bermuda and will return for a second visit in June. *File photo

Saracens will return to Bermuda next year  — with the tour set to build on the huge success of their 2013 visit.

The current Aviva Premiership leaders wasted little time in confirming their 2014  trip and are expected to bring an even stronger squad back to the island because of less conflicting international fixtures.

The tour will see the squad in Bermuda from Monday, June 2 until Sunday, June 8, with Saturday’s showpiece exhibition match against a Bermuda Select XV this time taking place inside the National Sports Centre stadium.

Former England captain Lewis Moody will again take charge of the Select XV and, with the help of Ireland legend Geordan Murphy, is already working on bringing up to 20 players from Aviva Premiership clubs to bolster his squad.

Murphy, who played in last year’s inaugural event and is now a coach at Leicester Tigers, is helping plan the trip but will not be here next year as he’s getting married.

Organiser Gareth Nokes told the Bermuda Sun: “Lewis and Geordan are happy to be involved again and help us get the team together. I’ve already had a lot of people approach me who want to come over and play.”

He added: “Within two weeks [of leaving], Saracens approached me about coming back.

“They’ve done tours of Miami, Abu Dhabi and Munich but they have never been back to the same place twice.

“It shows the feedback of the players, who said it was a wonderful place, a great island with friendly people — they said ‘we want to go back there’. It’s a great advert for Bermuda.

“I’m in regular contact with Lewis and he’s heavily involved. He has links to Bermuda, his wife has family here and he got married here, and he’s pretty passionate about helping Bermuda. 

“He’s obviously also aware of the good rugby can do for the community.”

Saracens will again go into schools and continue their work with John Layfield’s Beyond Rugby charity, while the Golf Day and corporate touch rugby events will both make a return.

The touch game, though, is slated for BAA this time rather than the beach, which took a little too much out of the pros’ legs ahead of the exhibition match. On the Friday night, there will be a black tie event at the Fairmont Hamilton, featuring a Q&A session with players ahead of the 2015 World Cup.

Top of the agenda for the tour, though, is to engage the community further.

The fundraising target  is $50,000, with the aim of helping Beyond Rugby buy some transport.

Nokes said: “The focus is on the charity aspect and making it a community event. And we wanted to move away from North Field and into the stadium as it will give it a different feel to the Classic.”

He added: “We’ve got some social problems here and they need some positivity and I believe rugby can provide that and this event is that.”