The man in charge of the worldwide public relations campaign for the fearless African marsupial, the ‘Honey Badger’; Port Macquarie-born NICK CUMMINS has enhanced his status as one of the cult figures of the Australian game after making a superb entry into Test Rugby last year.The under-rated 25-year-old boasted four seasons of Super Rugby experience with the Western Force prior to his Test debut in Argentina. That 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 a meritorious 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.Fast Fact: Nick Cummins answers to the nickname ‘The Honey Badger’ which he bestowed on himself in reference to his admiration for the fierce nature of the marsupial which is a native of the African continent.
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21 MAY 2013