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Olive Kilifi. Mike Bobis photo

Saracens and the USA Islanders played for the Atlantic Cup in Bermuda on Thursday. For Saracens the exhibition match is part of their preseason. For the USA Islanders, this was their first ever match. The event benefited Beyond Rugby Bermuda, a local charity.

Even without several key players, the Saracens group named for the match featured a lot of talent, and the Islanders were clear underdogs heading into the match. Chris Wyles captained Saracens on the day, while Olive Kilifi led the USA Islanders. A quarter of the way into the match, Saracens were up 12-0, and at halftime the gap was 29-0. Ultimately, Saracens continued to pour in the tries and won 92-0.

The Islanders were quickly under pressure following the opening kick off, but looked up for the match when they were able to run the ball out of the 22 after a turnover. However, a turnover of their own led directly to more pressure. This set the pattern for the match of Saracens’ mistakes leading to fleeting moments of opportunity for the Islanders, while the Islanders' mistakes were thoroughly exploited by Saracens.

From almost every set piece attacking opportunity, the Islanders were driven back by a combination of the Saracens' line speed, handling errors, and, at the end of the match, fatigue. Without any sustained possession, the Islanders were never able to fully test the Saracens’ defense. When the Islanders opted to kick, Saracens counter attacked effectively.

For most of the first half, the scrum was an even contest, but Saracens claimed the upper hand there as well in the second half.

When the Saracens’ substitutes came onto the field in the second half, they brought renewed energy and, seemingly, even more pace. As the Islanders struggled to match the energy and pace, the tries came easily for Saracens.

There were many moments when the Islanders showed determination and physicality in defense, as well as danger in attack. However, not enough of those moments were strung together to keep the match competitive.


Mike Ellery, Max Malins, Chris Wyles (3), Tom Griffiths, Henry Taylor (3), Nathan Earle (3), Alex Lozowski, Ben Earl.


USA Islanders

1. Olive Kilifi (captain) 2. Lote Tuipulotu 3. Huluholo Moungaloa 4. Sione Tuihalamaka 5. Ekapatelisio Veamatahau 6. Pagopagohokma Haini 7. Faafetai Te'o 8. Saia Uhila 9. Deveraux Ferris (vice captain) 10. Martini Talapusi 11. Joeli Tikoisuva 12. Sani Taylor 13. Matai Leuta 14. Viliami Huihui 15. Misitana Afeaki

16. Lolenisi Veimau 18. Peyton Telea 19. Kirk Hamilton20. Veuki Taumoefolau 21. Colton Cariaga 22. Tesimoni Tongauiha 23. Paul Eteaki 24. Gerson Blaise


1 Hayden Thompson-Stringer 2 Scott Spurling 3 Vincent Koch 4 Dominic Day 5 Nick Isiekwe 6 Jack Nay 7 Calum Clark 8 Ben Earl 9 Ben Spencer 10 Max Malins 11 Chris Wyles (c) 12 Nick Tompkins 13 Tom Griffiths 14 Mike Ellery 15 Matt Gallagher

Replacements: Christopher Tolofua, Richard Barrington, Kieran Longbottom, Mark Flanagan, Schalk Burger, Jackson Wray, Henry Taylor, Alex Lozowski, Tom Whiteley, Nathan Earle, Dominic Morris.