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Pumas beware: aggressive Honey Badger on prowl

Baptism of fire ... Nick Cummins is set to make his Test debut in Argentina  when the Wallabies take on the Pumas in the Rugby Championship.

Baptism of fire ... Nick Cummins is set to make his Test debut in Argentina when the Wallabies take on the Pumas in the Rugby Championship. Photo: Getty Images

ROSARIO: For the Honey Badger, the choice was simple: the mines, the army or Randwick.

Nick Cummins chose the Galloping Greens, and with it began an arduous trek which, after years on the tackle bags at Wallabies training sessions has, at last, seen him make the Test team.

The man with the strangest nickname in Australian rugby was a surprise choice for the most difficult of Test debuts, against Argentina on Puma soil, being chosen ahead of Dom Shipperley on the right wing. But Cummins was chosen for his physicality; the Wallabies will be confronting a large Puma team. His unbridled enthusiasm will also be required on a day when the home team will be confrontational.

Never say die … a honey badger.

Never say die … a honey badger. Photo: Supplied

Desperate times lead to drastic selections, with the Wallabies believing that Cummins gives them something very different. He certainly provides them with character and a level of animal aggression - badass honey badger aggression, Cummins hopes.

His initiation into rugby was different. Growing up in Brisbane, a strong rugby league area, his elder brother beckoned him to Bundaberg at the age of 16 to help the local rugby club, the Buccaneers, win the grand final. At the game, a Galloping Greens scout was in the crowd, and approached Cummins to ask if he was interested in trying out for the Randwick Colts team. A few years later, he headed to Sydney.

''I decided to put my life on hold and see what came of this. It was a case of either going into the mines, the army, or Randwick. They were my three options, and I went for Randwick. It could have all been very different.''

From there, he became a member of the Australian Sevens team, where he was picked up by the Western Force in 2007. Making the Wallabies was far trickier.

''I've been holding the pads for bloody three years. I certainly know how to hold a pad. Given the amount of injuries at the moment if I hadn't got a gig, I probably would have given it up. But I'm happy that I've been persistent and resilient, and it's great to finally get there.''

As for the Honey Badger tag, how did he get to be named after a cobra-eating weasel?

''The real story is that I watch a lot of Animal Planet shows plus YouTube, and enjoy watching animals hunt each other,'' Cummins said. ''I saw the honey badger, and became fascinated. It is just so aggressive and will never say die.''

''One of the stories which inspired me is that it is documented that a honey badger killed a male lion in a one-on-one battle. What happened was that he clawed the canastas off the big fella, going the old one-two. The big fella walked around the corner and fell over. The honey badger got up, shook himself, and just trotted off. For me, that was outstanding.

''Well, I just like that aggression, and try to get into the mindset of the honey badger when going into contact during a game. There's no doubt, there's no fear.''

The Pumas have been warned. The Honey Badger is on the prowl in Rosario.

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