Representative Honours: Australian Sevens 2010, Australian Barbarians 2010, Australian Wallabies 2012-
Senior Tours: Europe 2012, UK/Europe 2013
The ‘Honey Badger’ NICK CUMMINS cemented his role as a first-choice Wallabies winger during a 2014 campaign where he also enhanced his status as one of the cult figures of the Australian game.
Following an impressive individual season with the Western Force, Cummins went on to gain selection in coach Ewen McKenzie’s inaugural Rugby Championship squad, where he would make his first appearance for the year against Argentina at Suncorp Stadium.
A hand injury in Australia’s following game against Argentina saw the talented winger miss the remainder of the tournament but he soon returned to play a starring role in the Wallabies impressive Spring Tour, playing in four of their five games.
After earning Man of Gold honours against England at Twickenham, Cummins scored a double in a record 50-20 triumph over Italy before grabbing a third piece of ‘meat’ in Australia’s win over Ireland.
Nicknamed after the fearless African marsupial, the ‘Honey Badger’; Port Macquarie-born Cummins continued his impressive 2013 form into this year where he has been a critical cog in the resurgent form of the Western Force.
This included arguably his most notable performance of the season when he scored a hat-trick of tries in defeating the NSW Waratahs in round nine, becoming just the third player to achieve the feat for the Perth-based franchise since their inception.
The underrated 26-year-old missed much of the 2013 Super Rugby season, limited to just six games for the Western Force due to a knee injury, but was damaging enough during his time on the field to earn a call up to the Qantas Wallabies squad for the British & Irish Lions Test series.
Cummins was named in the initial 25-man squad for the Lions tour and remained with the squad for the duration of the tour, but was unfortunate not to be selected in a match-day 23.
Famous for his unique interview style, Cummins brought four seasons of Super Rugby experience to his Test debut against Argentina in 2012.
The apprenticeship served him well when thrown into the intensity of a packed football stadium in Rosario against a fired up Los Pumas for his Test debut. As with his team-mates, Cummins handled the occasion superbly, holding his nerve as the Qantas Wallabies defied the odds during an admirable 25-19 victory. The performance saw Cummins retain his place for a first crack at the All Blacks two weeks later and he did well, comparing favourably with the Kiwi guns Cory Jane and Hosea Gear who roamed on the flanks for New Zealand during the tense 18-18 draw.
Four additional caps followed on the Spring Tour, with Cummins excelling in all four appearances, which included being Australia’s sole try-scorer in the wins over England and Italy.
Cummins featured in the Qantas Wallabies’ final six matches of 2012. What made that performance all the more meritorious was that he was the eighth player to have been given his shot on the wing during Australia’s injury hit year. His elevation to the Test side, after first having been involved during a pre-tour camp prior to the 2009 Spring Tour, rewarded the more proactive role Cummins had at the Force last year. This reflected not only his growing maturity as a player, but also his status as one of the older hands in a young Western Australian backline.
A pacy winger, but with the size and directness to handle centre where he has added to his skill set, Cummins first flagged his potential for higher honours at a Wallaby training camp in 2009. Although injury prevented any involvement on that year’s tour, Cummins franked that experience with a strong performance in the Super Rugby season which followed, earning selection from there in the Australian Barbarians matches against England during the 2010 midweek series. Cummins started in both matches against England before being included in Australia’s wider Tri Nations squad for that year, although he wasn’t required to play.
Cummins was subsequently released from his obligations in the latter part of Australia’s campaign in order to attend the Commonwealth Games Sevens tournament in India, where he featured in Australia’s Silver-medal winning team.
His involvement last year culminated in a Test debut, which saw his proud father Mark jump on a plane and race to Argentina in order to witness his son’s pre-game jersey presentation, Test debut and then the post-game capping ceremony in the dressing room.
Nick’s ascension to the Wallabies completed a massive year for the family. His father Mark was made the Queensland ‘Father of the Year’, due to his tireless work supporting seven children, two of whom suffer from cystic fibrosis. His aunty Margie won the Australian edition of ‘The Biggest Loser’ television series.