Saracens Cruise, Texas Rolls In Luminous Night In Bermuda

The Atlantic Rugby Cup finished up in Bermuda on Thursday with victories for the Republic of Texas All-Stars and Saracens.

The Texas team played in the curtain-raiser and defeated the Liberty Conference All-Stars 33-7. While Liberty had some flashes, especially in the backline where Bryan Michel and Jimmy Wolfer were solid, the Texas forwards proved to be the stronger unit at Bermuda National Stadium. With Brennan Falcon putting in a full day's work and lock Damon Torres showed a high work rate and hard-nosed play, Texas was able to play as a unified group.

Texas All-Stars Roster Announcement

"We had great structure for only having 2 1/2 trainings," Texas All-Stars coach Rick Medina said.

Medina's son, Patrick, who is just out of high school, was outstanding at flyhalf and helped control the field position. Mason Pedersen kept brought the whole team together with his leadership at captain.

In the marquee game of the evening, Saracens shut out an eager but overmatched USA Islanders team 92-0. The game was hotly contested for a good portion of the first half, and the Islanders had several good scoring chances thanks to some turnovers and aggressive play in the tackle and in the rucks. But mistakes let Saracens off the hook, and the European Cup champions quickly pulled away from the Islanders.

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Saracens captain Chris Wyles, who played 54 times for the USA in 15s and previously with Islanders captain Olive Kilifi, was superb in scoring three tries. Wyles led well at wing and helped Sarries open the game up. Henry Taylor and Nathan Earle also scored tries.

Saracens played a smart game, in which they kicked behind the Islander forwards, pressured on defense, and punished with solid set piece and the maul. But Saracens were also very good in the backline, showing mid-season ball-handling. The Islanders, together for only a few days, were always going to need a little luck. Instead, they played defense much of the game and didn't have it together to link up for those counter-attack tries they needed.

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Still the event was a huge success. Live-streamed on FloRugby, the games brought many fans to Bermuda's National Stadium, and Beyond Rugby founder and promoter John Layfield said enough money was raised to fund the at-risk-youth program for two years.

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Both games will be available among the archived videos on FloRugby.

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