Badger ready to rip in for Wallabies
In the rugby and animal kingdom, a Puma shouldn’t have problems with a honey badger but Argentina should be warned about Australia’s latest call-up, Nick Cummins.
IN the rugby and animal kingdom, a Puma shouldn’t have problems with a honey badger but Argentina should be warned about Australia’s latest call-up, Nick Cummins.
Cummins is fascinated by the small African mammal to the point he models his game on the honey badger’s attributes and is forever learning more about the fearless furball.
He’s nicknamed ‘Badger’ and loves its aggression – playing with the same attitude and energy on the wing for the Western Force.
“The main reason it inspired me was that it’s documented that a honey badger killed a male lion in a one-on-one battle,” Cummins says.
“What happened was that he clawed the canastas off the big fella, he just went one-two on the ball-bag, and the big fella has walked around the corner and fell over.
“That, to me, is outstanding.”
Welcome to the Wallabies‘ 11th and newest cap in an unprecedented, horror year for injuries where the popular Cummins will be the 38th player to line up for Australia.
The Port Macquarie-born, Brisbane-raised, Perth-based winger is a testament to hard work and perseverance as he’ll finally make his Test debut against Argentina in Rosario this weekend – a day after his 25th birthday and three years after making his first Wallabies squad.
His rugby adventure was sparked by pure chance at 16 when older brother Luke called him up as a ring-in, along with another brother Nathan and father Mark, for a Bundaberg grand final.
In his only game for the club, Cummins starred as a smokey and caught the eye of a Randwick club scout.
“Luke called us up and said we need some cattle,” he recalled. “So we stacked (the team) and then came away with a win.
“I think my name was David for that game.”
The youngster put his life on hold and moved to Sydney.
“I just came out of school,” he said. “I was going to go to the mines, army or Randwick.”
From there, Cummins trained the house down to sneak into Australia’s sevens side to fill an injury gap, gained a chance with the Perth Spirit in the defunct Australian Rugby Championship and then earned a contract with the Force in 2008.
Injuries to Drew Mitchell, James O’Connor, Lachie Turner, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Joe Tomane have depleted the Wallabies wing stocks, and now the hard-running, tough-tackling Force cult hero has his chance.
“I’ve been holding pads for three years so I know how to hold a pad – and I’m very grateful for the opportunity,” he said.
“But given the amount of injuries if I didn’t get a gig I probably would have given it up!
“It’s been a long road and I’ve been resilient.”
Just like the honey badger.