South African Springbok's captain John Smit may be coming to Bermuda. *AFP photo
South African Springbok's captain John Smit may be coming to Bermuda. *AFP photo

Bermuda will be visited by some of rugby’s elite players when English club Saracens fly in on May 27.

Thirty members of the first-team squad — who currently sit top of the Premiership in England and are in the quarter-finals of the prestigious Heineken Cup — will take part in a week of school visits, coaching workshops and fundraising activities.

The Saracens party could include the likes of former England captain Steve Borthwick, England’s Chris Ashton and Owen Farrell, as well as South Africa’s World Cup winning captain John Smit.

It is hoped the the Saracens visit will raise up to $50,000 for the Beyond Rugby charity and the Bermuda Rugby Youth Section. CEO of Saracens, Edward Griffiths, said: “The squad is looking forward to exploring the beautiful island of Bermuda and working alongside the local and business communities to hopefully inspire a new generation of future rugby stars.”

Among the activities is a charity golf event at Tucker’s Point Golf Club and a corporate beach tag-rugby 7-a-side tournament.  

The visit will culminate in a match versus a Bermuda International Select XV on May 31 at the National Sports Stadium at 6.30pm.

Organiser Gareth Nokes who, alongside David Tucker, has been instrumental in pulling this initiative together, added "Rugby is a game steeped in tradition, its players and supporters enjoy a deep sense of community and involvement.

 “These values and traditions develop from the first time a young player shakes hands with their opposite number, leading to a life-long passion for involvement with the game at all levels on and off the field.  Bringing the Saracens players, many of whom have played at the highest level of the sport for many years, is not only exciting for Bermuda but it is hoped the workshops and seminars will inspire our youth to embrace the core values rugby offers.

 “We must thank the generosity of the local and international businesses who have committed funding to make this pipedream a reality – without their generosity, this initiative would not be possible."

Patrick Calow, the BRFU Youth Development officer and coordinator of the Beyond Rugby programme said: “We are absolutely thrilled by the prospect of having Saracens participate in the Beyond Rugby program.  Bermuda’s ability to attract a team of the calibre of Saracens will be of huge motivation to the kids in our program and those in schools who maybe experiencing rugby for the first time.”

If you or your company are interested in being part of this initiative, contact organiser Gareth Nokes at SaracensinBDA@yahoo.com.