Rugby Union

ACT Brumbies on Honey Badger alert with Wallabies winger Nick Cummins returning to Western Force

He's renowned for his hilarious one-liners and offbeat sayings, but it's the damage the Honey Badger does with ball in hand that the ACT Brumbies are concerned about.

Nick Cummins, one of the most popular and colourful characters in Australian sport, will make his return for the Western Force in Friday night's Super Rugby clash at Canberra Stadium.

Nick Cummins makes his Super Rugby return for the Western Force against the ACT Brumbies on Friday.
Nick Cummins makes his Super Rugby return for the Western Force against the ACT Brumbies on Friday. 

It's the 27-year-old's first game for the Force this season after missing his side's opening three games recovering from minor ankle surgery.

Cummins was feared to have been lost to Australian rugby when he was granted a release on compassionate grounds at the end of last season to take up a lucrative contract in Japan.

However, his Japanese club, the Coca Cola West Red Sparks, allowed Cummins to re-sign with the Australian Rugby Union and the Force for this season.

It opens the door for Cummins to add to his 15 caps for the Wallabies at this year's World Cup.

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Having played alongside Cummins with the Wallabies, Brumbies inside centre Christian Lealiifano was pleased to see the cult hero back in Australian rugby.

"He has a lot of experience and turns games and gives them some good momentum," Lealiifano said.

"Definitely the crowd will get behind him, he's a cult hero.

"When you're giving him too much space to run, he's really dangerous and he can create something from nothing.

"He's a class player and we've got to be all over him."

Cummins coined the nickname "The Honey Badger" in honour of the fierce nature of the honey badger and tried to think like the animal in defence.

While he's a great finisher and loves nothing more than chasing down a piece of meat - Cummins' term for a try - Cummins rose to prominence with his quirky post-game interviews.

Some of his best lines include: "Sweating like a gypsy with a mortgage", "Busier than a one-armed bricklayer in Baghdad", and "As mad as a tree full of galahs".

"He brings a different approach to life and footy," Lealiifano said.

"It's quite refreshing to know him as a bloke and to get to play with him. 

"Good on the Western Force, his Japanese side and the ARU to be able to let him do that.

"Family is always a big part of a lot of our lives and to be able to support them and to give back is always going to be one of our main priorities.

"It's a massive bonus for the ARU and the Force and adds competition for spots."

Force scrumhalf Alby Mathewson said having Cummins back was a big boost for the squad.

"It's good to have him back around, he's a quality player and it's good for team morale," Mathewson said.

"He just gives everything, he carries hard, he works hard and does his role really well.

"Everyone sees the way he plays and it inspires everyone to have a crack like him."

The Brumbies are on top of the Australian conference with two wins from three games, while the Force is trying to avoid a third straight defeat.

* FRIDAY: SUPER RUGBY: ACT Brumbies v Western Force at Canberra Stadium, 7.40pm. Tickets from Ticketek or at the gate.