Rugby Union

License article

Nick 'Honey Badger' Cummins signs with Australian Sevens team for Olympic Games

Olympic Games hopeful Nick Cummins says he's on a mission to earn respect from the Australian men's sevens team as he chases a gold-medal opportunity and unleashes the Honey Badger at the Rio athletes' village.

Rugby cult hero Cummins has signed a deal with the Australian sevens to play in the world series and press his claims for Rio Olympic selection over the coming months.

Up Next

Leicester's unbeaten streak interrupted by firing Crystal Palace

Leicester City's Danny Simpson, left, and Crystal Palace's Ruben Loftus-Cheek battle for the ball during the English ...
Video duration

More Sports HQ Videos

Sport: The week's best plays

From beating the buzzer to breaking droughts, these are the most exciting, silly and downright crazy plays in the sporting world this week.

The former Wallabies and Western Force winger will add an injection of ocka as the sevens side sets its sights on a gold medal and Olympic glory.

But while Cummins, better known as the Honey Badger, is keen for "a bit of meat in Rio", he says he has to prove himself to Australia's specialist sevens.

The ARU is walking the fine line between parachuting in 15-a-side stars to join the incumbent sevens players who are full-time with the program and qualified Australia for the Olympics.

Quade Cooper, who copped criticism from Toulon owner Mourad Boudjella on Tuesday, Israel Folau and Bernard Foley are other Test players who are on the sevens radar.


"Bloody oath, you've got to earn your stripes and they'll drop you if you don't," Cummins said from Japan.

"That's what you want. That's how you get a good squad and how you get results. To get there already shows the guys there are tough little buggers and they've got a massive result.

"It's going to be a bloody arm wrestle to try to squeeze your way into the squad. You don't take that lightly, it's going to be a mission."

Cummins will be available to play the last four sevens world series events in Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris and London when he finishes his playing commitments in Japan.

The 28-year-old made a brief comeback to Australian rugby last year with the Force to try to press his claims for a Wallabies World Cup call up.

And he admits he hasn't made a decision on whether he will stay in Japan, return to Australia or move to Europe when his deal with the West Red Sparks ends.

"There are so many different options and things that can happens, it alters the course every time a month goes past," Cummins said.

"If you want to make God laugh, you tell him your plans. It changes all the time, I'm open to all options."

Cummins quipped that his favourite Olympian was Steven Bradbury, the speed-skater who miraculously won Australia's first winter Olympics gold medal in 2002.

He also enjoyed watching sprinter Matt Shirvington. "He's got most of us covered, and some toe about him as well.

"Track and field, the whole shebang. I was a big fan of the Olympics [as a child]. I'm keen to get amongst it. It's blood exciting."

Australia will play at the Wellington sevens at the end of January before moving to the Sydney sevens on February 6-7.

Cummins joins ACT Brumbies winger Henry Speight in making the transitions to sevens with at least one more player expected to follow.

Cooper is expected to play in some sevens tournaments after reaching an agreement with Toulon.

Cummins missed World Cup selection, but says the past two years have helped him grow "spiritually and mentally" after moving to Japan.

He will link up with new coach Andy Friend in the sevens program, and said part of his Olympic motivation was driven by the desire to get rid of the "sour" taste of taking home a silver medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

"I wasn't overly happy with that silver [in Dehli] ... we were in the gold-medal match and then after the buzzer scored and beat us," Cummins said.

"It left a bit of a sour taste and I want to get rid of that."

The Olympic village has a reputation of turning into a party village when athletes finish their events.

So how will it cope with a dose of the most ocka footballer in Australia as he "goes up the guts" and "off like a bag of cats"?

"Strewth. Before it will be pretty low key, chewing the fat and a few pointers. But I don't know..I don't want to blow myself up before we get there," Cummins laughed.

"After we bring home the gold, anything could happen."