Saracens hit heights in one-sided victory

  • Hair-raising stuff: Malins, one of Saracens’ tryscorers, bursts forward against the USA Islanders in the Atlantic Cup at North Field (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Trying time: Saracens win Ellery crashes over for the opening touchdown (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Standing tall: Saracens win a line-out during their preseason friendly against the USA Islanders at North Field (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Saracens plundered 14 tries, including hat-tricks from a trio of players, in their 92-0 victory over the USA Islanders in the Atlantic Cup at North Field last night.

The back-to-back European champions fielded a young team, featuring several Academy players, but still possessed far too much knowhow and quality for the Islanders.

In fairness, the Islanders — a concept team including players of Tongan, Samoan, Hawaiian and Fijian descent — were playing their first match together and became increasingly wragged as the game wore on.

For Saracens, it was their first competitive match since defeating Clermont Auvergne in the European Champions Cup final at Murrayfield in May.

Among the hat-trick scorers was Chris Wyles, the former United States captain, who led the Aviva Premiership side last night against many of his former USA Eagles team-mates.

“We always knew the Islanders were going to come out and be really physical,” the wings said. “They haven’t been together long but that was an awesome run out for us.”

Wyles, who captained the US at the 2015 World Cup in England, said the match offered some important match experience for the team’s younger players.

“It was a good run out for some of our younger boys who are massively hungry to impress the coaches,” the 31-year-old said. “Ultimately we wanted to focus on our game plan, run our systems and make sure we were composed.

“We’ve been through five extremely tough weeks of fitness and conditioning training and whilst it was hot out there and difficult, I think our fitness showed in the end.”

Wyles said the six-day trip and served as ideal preparation for Saracens who start their league season at home to Northampton Saints on Saturday, September 2.

“It’s been awesome to come to such a beautiful island and now we’ll have the weekend together, have a few beers and go out on a boat,” he said.

“The whole point of these trips to form deeper relationships with the players, especially the younger ones. We’ll look to crack on next week in London and move on.”

Saracens’ other try scorers were Henry Taylor (3), Nathan Earle (3), Ben Earl, Mike Ellery, Max Malins, Tom Griffiths and Alex Lozowski.

Vaha Esikia, the Islanders coach, said it was exciting to face such an esteemed side as Saracens and believed there had been no shortage of effort from his players.

“When we got the opportunity to take this challenge we took it,” said Esikia, who was part of the US team’s 2007 World Cup squad in France.

“Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to work together. There were a few things we would have liked to have fixed but it was an honour to play against the number one team in the Northern Hemisphere.

“It was a struggle to be cohesive and we knew our fitness was going to be against us.”

Esikia added: “We have some more stuff planned for this team and they [the Bermuda Rugby Football Union] want us to come back again. Hopefully we can get more exposure for US players.”