Bodmin rugby player makes his mark in America
BODMIN rugby player Ashley Saunter has been making waves during his summer playing for Vail RFC in Colorado.
The side have won the Cow Pie Tourney, Ski Town classic and on Saturday completed the treble by winning the Rockies mountains summer league.
And to top off a great summer, 19-year-old Saunter was voted "most valuable player" at the club for this season.
Both tournaments had ten sides from all over the USA playing and Vail managed to win both in style.
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The Rockies Mountain Division is made up of seven teams spread across the Rockies and Denver (centre of USA rugby) and recruit players from all over the USA and other rugby playing countries, mainly students.
Saunter, son of Bodmin RFC chairman David Saunter, replied to an advert in Rugby World where Vail RFC were looking for players for the coming season.
The club has an English president and he was hoping some students from the UK would bolster their already strong squad.
Saunter sent a DVD of him playing for Southampton Solent where as a fresher he was already playing first team rugby. President Chris Chantler was impressed and asked him to go across.
The trip was for ten weeks playing and training at 8,500ft above sea level in temperatures as high as 80 degrees.
Saunter said: "The first couple of training sessions and games were very tough, playing at altitude is hard work. But like anything you get used to it and I think my fitness levels have improved greatly."
Saunter has been sharing a house with five other students, four from America and one from South Africa.
He added: "We have bonded really quickly and fitted in with the team."
Coach McGuire was really pleased with his Bodmin addition. He said: "We had a strong squad on paper and then the little English Bruiser joined us and made an immediate impact.
"He came to us as a quality 9 but due to injuries has filled in at 10 and made a decent job of it. His tackling is second to none and he has fitted in really well."
Saunter played all his rugby at Bodmin RFC, coming through the minis up to colts and then first team before starting a sports studies degree at Solent.
Bodmin club president Ray Hunt said: "It's always pleasing to see players progress from the club and enjoying the game wherever they play.
"Who knows, he could return to the fold one day."