Western Force and Wallabies cult hero winger Nick Cummins has been granted a release from his ARU contract tot take up a deal with Japanese club Coca Cola West Red Sparks.
Originally contracted to the ARU and the Force to the end of 2015, ‘The Honey Badger’ was released on compassionate grounds – a move that will rule the current Test flyer out of World Cup contention next year.
Sabbaticals have become a hot topic recently, but Force chief excecutive Mark Sinderberry indicated Cummins’ circumstances were complicated and he is apparently dealing with a tough situation off the paddock.
“Nick’s got a very unique situation and he’s requested a release from his contract with us and the Australian Rugby Union,” Sinderberry said on Friday.
“Subject to some details being worked out, that will be granted on compassionate grounds.
“Nick faces a very unique set of challenges and we’re very mindful of what’s going on. In conjunction with the players’ association, we’ve been working through those details so that release will be granted.
“It’s hugely disappointing but it’s ultimately more disappointing for Nick in terms of the situation he faces”.
The ARU echoed Sinderberry’s sentiments and, no doubt, the feelings of the wider Australian Rugby fanbase and supporters worldwide (Japan excluded, obviously) at news of the personality player’s departure, releasing the following statement:
“We have been working with Nick and his management team to explore ways to retain him within Australian Rugby since we were notified of his circumstances.”
“Nick has been an incredibly entertaining and successful player on the field for the Western Force since 2008 and the Qantas Wallabies since 2012.
“The enthusiasm he brings to our sport and unique personality that he has shared with the Australian Rugby community will be sorely missed.
“Due to his unique and extreme personal circumstances, we have reluctantly made a decision to grant Nick an early release from his current contract based on compassionate grounds.
“We wish him well for the future on and off the field and he is aware that we – and Rugby fans across Australia who have embraced him as the ‘Honey Badger’ – would love to see him back in Australia in the future.”
Cummins will most likely be left out of the Wallabies’ Rugby Championship side, with coach Ewen McKenzie indicating he only wants to select players who will be available for Australia’s assault on the 2015 World Cup.
The 26-year-old has become one of the most popular players in the country and among the most unique characters in world Rugby thanks to his refreshing honesty and quirky interviews, the best of which have been packaged in the video below:
NICK CUMMINS – CAREER SNAPSHOT
Born: 5 October 1987, Port Macquarie, NSW.
Super Rugby: Western Force (2008-12)
International Rugby: Australia (2012-14) – 15 Tests, 6 tries
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