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Michael Bunce is the co-leader in try-scoring for the Montauk Rugby Club with five in league play.
The former USA U20 flanker suits up at No. 8 and openside flanker for the undefeated DII team, and has been a part of some new-found success for the club.
“When we were last really successful, it was in DIII, and I was playing for the club when I was 16 or 17,” Bunce told RUGBYMag.com. “I left and moved on, but now I come back and this has been a lot of fun. The guys here, I went to school with some of them. Our dads or uncles all play. We’re friends.”
According to club president Garth Wakeford, Bunce has taken on a more vocal leadership role. He should. He has played in Scotland, played for the Junior All Americans, and has coached as well.
“We get involved in coaching right now,” he said. “We’ve recruited a lot of really good athletes. With them it doesn’t matter if they don’t know exactly when to roll away or release the ball. We can help them with that and help coach them a little while we’re training.”
Bunce has a solid rugby resume, and has now stepped forward to take control of the pack. He has opened his arms to the new football and lacrosse athletes recruited to the club, and brought the new players and the veterans together. The tries are nice, but they are ancillary to everything else.
“I’ve been around,” said Bunce, who has played at Pearl City, Boston and Tempe. “I’ve been in the playoffs. I think I can bring something to the club in understanding what it takes to get there.”
Something’s going right, as Montauk is 6-0 and looking at 8-0 in league play.
“Everyone’s excited,” said Bunce. “Our field is right in the middle of East Hampton. Everyone will walk by and just at least have a look. Guys with kids have no excuse not to come as there’s a playground right next to the field. It’s good for us, and good for the community.”