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International

Where is Nick Cummins and why did he leave Australia Rugby?

Where did the Honey Badger go and why?

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Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Cult figure and fan favourite Nick Cummins made the shock call to walk away from the Wallabies in 2014 for something much more important to him than rugby … fighting the illness in his close-knit family.

Cummins is best known as the wild head taped lid, moustache and one line pearlers but the former Western Force and Wallabies winger has a much softer and caring side than his persona gives off.

Cummins grew up as one of eight siblings raised by their single dad, Mark Cummins, in Logan City, just south of Brisbane.

At a young age, two of Honey Badger’s younger siblings, Elizabeth and Joe, were diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

Despite the strains of his early life, Cummins always dreamt of one day representing the Wallabies.

In 2005, he moved to Sydney to play for the Randwick rugby club. From there, his stock quickly rose and he was drafted into the Western Force Super Rugby Squad and then in 2012 went on to play for the Wallabies.

The following year his dad was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer.

In 2014, Cummins announced he was walking away from the Wallabies and Australian Rugby Union and had been granted a contract release on compassionate grounds from the ARU.

Honey Badger made the tough decision to sign with the Japanese club, Coca Cola West Red Sparks. His move to Japan meant he could make more money to send back to Australia to support his Dad and younger siblings. The move would also give Cummins more time to spend with his family as the Japanese season is much shorter than Super Rugby or European Seasons.

Cummins Dad , Mick spoke with the Courier back in 2014.

“He’s no mercenary. He treasures playing for the Wallabies and all he is giving up is because of his family,”

“He told me that in his heart he couldn’t enjoy himself when he could be doing more for the kids.”

“Nick said he could kick in more by signing in Japan where he will get more time off to return to the family and also research alternative medicines.”

Naturally, the ARU were very disappointed to lose the Test Quality Winger who had racked up 15 Tests before announcing his exit.

“It is very disappointing to lose a player of Nick’s calibre but after discussing the issues, we appreciate this is a decision based on what is best for him and his family at this time,” Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie said.

“He will be sorely missed by the Wallabies on and off the field.”

“Due to his extreme personal circumstances, we have reluctantly made a decision to grant Nick an early release from his contract based on compassionate grounds,”

ARU boss Bill Pulver said.

“We had been working with Nick and his management team to explore ways to retain him within Australian rugby.”

Cummins left the Japanese Club in 2016 and has remained in the public eye with many TV appearances that include ‘The Australian Bachelor’ and being the Face of ‘Tradie Underwear’

UPDATE: Cummins is due to make his return to the pitch running out for the World XV side in Perth in March 2019.

International

England Demolish Terrible Ireland

England set new records against Ireland in what was a stand-out performance from the home side

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(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

England thrashed Ireland 57-15 at Twickenham on Saturday afternoon in what was a record win for the English over their visitors.

Eddie Jones’ side secured a record points total against Ireland surpassing their previous 50 points scored against the Irish 19 years ago, while the win also gave them a record winning margin over the men in green.

The home side started well with captain Owen Farrell knocking over a penalty as early as the 7th minute.

However, Ireland bounced back with a Jordan Larmour try coming within two minutes of that score and Ross Byrne kicked the conversion to make it 7-3.

Ireland gave up their lead as quickly as they gained it when England broke out right with Elliot Daly providing the killer pass for Joe Cokanasiga to stroll over for five-points. Farrell couldn’t provide the extras, but it was 8-7 with 12 minutes on the clock.

The game became a more even contest over the next ten minutes with Ireland only getting the next score on 25 minutes courtesy of a brilliant 42 metre Byrne penalty.

That was the best it got for Ireland as Daly and man of the match Manu Tuilagi got in for further tries before half-time to leave it at 22-10 going into the second-half.

Things went from bad to worse for the Irish in the second period with England scoring a try five minutes in as an over-thrown line-out was gathered up and Maro Itoje burst through the defence to touchdown under the posts.

The floodgates were well and truly open after that try as Itoje’s second-row partner George Kruis got in on the try-scoring act in the 53rd minute and was followed up by Tom Curry who scored the team’s sixth try four minutes later.

Cokanasiga made a wonderful break through the Irish defence to score his second try of the game on 65 minutes to make it 50-10 with another Farrell conversion.

Ireland fought back late on and a brilliant step from Bundee Aki left him in the English 22 where he raced down the touchline and dived in for a try while holding off Daly.

England got the last laugh however as substitute Luke Cowan-Dickie caught an over-thrown Irish line-out and barged over for their eighth and final try. Farrell converted to leave it at 57-15 to the hosts.

A worrying sign for the English was the late yellow card received by Kruis who was fortunate not to see red as well as Mako Vunipola’s departure from the game after coming on as a sub.

Ireland will need to dust themselves down quickly and sort out their problems as they head to the Principality next weekend to face Wales, while England will hope that this is the start of what’s to come as they look more and more like World Cup contenders.

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Mallinder Leaves RFU for Scotland

Jim Mallinder is set to depart the RFU and take up a role with Scotland

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(Photo by Steve Bardens - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Imagesges)

Jim Mallinder has been confirmed as Scottish Rugby’s new performance director following Scott Johnson’s departure earlier this year.

By taking up the new role in Scotland Mallinder leaves the Rugby Football Union where he has been for some time.

Mallinder admitted that he is sad to leave the RFU behind, but he is also looking forward to his new challenge.

“I’m sad to be leaving the RFU as I’ve really enjoyed my time here, in particular getting to work with some fantastic people in a wide range of roles within the men’s pathway. I will miss working with them all but this was an opportunity that I couldn’t refuse. It’s a chance to lead a long-term programme, work with talented people, and I’m looking forward to moving up to Scotland and getting started,” he said.

Mallinder worked in the English club game for a while, leading the likes of the England Saxons and recently lead an England XV to victory over the Barbarians.

RFU professional director of rugby Nigel Melville thanked Mallinder for his service and wished him luck in his new role.

“I’d like to thank Jim for all the work he’s done within the player pathway over the past year and, on behalf of everyone at the RFU, wish him all the best for his new role with Scottish Rugby,” he said.

Mallinder brings plenty of experience having coached Sale Sharks and Northampton Saints in the Premiership, as well as coaching the England U21’s to the Six Nations in 2006 and working with many underage teams in England during his time.

His new role will see him take over a leading role in the Scotland’s new Super6 competition for semi-professional players, while he will also look after player development, the Scotland Sevens team and the Scotland Women’s team in what is a huge challenge for the now former RFU man.

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International

Farrell Starts at Centre for England

England head coach Eddie Jones has confirmed his England side to take on Ireland this weekend

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

England head coach Eddie Jones has announced his 23-man squad to play Ireland in his side’s third World Cup warm-up game this Saturday at Twickenham.

Following last weekend’s 13-6 defeat to Wales Jones is hoping his side will bounce back against a team they dominated away from home earlier this year in the Six Nations and Jones has chosen to pick Owen Farrell to test out a different side to the one who lost to the Welsh.

In the front-row Joe Marler starts alongside Jamie George and Kyle Sinckler, with Maro Itoje and George Kruis behind them against the second-row.

The back-row is made up of Tom Curry and Sam Underhill on either side of Billy Vunipola in what is a formidable looking pack.

 Ben Youngs tarts in at scrum-half and is joined by George Ford who continues at fly-half, with captain Farrell opening at inside centre and Manu Tuilagi beside him at outside centre.

Jonny May takes the 11 jersey, while Joe Cokanasiga is on the right-wing and Elliot Daly completes the starting XV from full-back.

On the bench they have the likes of Courtney Lawes and Jonathan Joseph joined by Mako Vunipola and Mark Wilson to call on, with the latter two set return from injury.

England will want to avoid a second defeat in a row heading into the World Cup and a win for them would see them leap over South Africa into fourth place in the World Rankings.

Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below.

Starting XV:

Elliot Daly; Joe Cokanasiga, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell, Jonny May; George Ford, Ben Youngs; Joe Marler, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler; Maro Itoje, George Kruis; Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola. 

Replacements:

 Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola, Dan Cole, Courtney Lawes, Mark Wilson, Willi Heinz, Piers Francis, Jonathan Joseph.

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