Cummins to tackle Wallabies

2014-09-19 15:16
Nick Cummins (Getty Images)

London - Australia wing Nick Cummins is set to line-up against his compatriots after being selected to play for the Barbarians against the Wallabies at Twickenham on November 1.

The Barbarians, rugby union's most prestigious invitational club, said on Friday that Cummins was the first player chosen for the non-cap international with the rest of their side to be announced next month before the squad assembles in London on October 28.

Cummins had been all set to play a major part in Australia's side at next year's World Cup in England.

But he left the Western Force in July to move to Japanese Top League side Coca Cola West Red Spark for family reasons to provide support for his sick father, brother and sister.

That decision meant the end, for the time being at least, of his Australia career and his hopes of playing at the World Cup as the Wallabies have a policy of not selecting players based overseas.

The 26-year-old Cummins, nicknamed 'The Honey Badger' for his distinctive appearance - became a cult hero with Wallabies fans, with one newspaper dubbing him "The world's most Australian man".

But he also has a serious international record behind him, with six tries in 15 Tests since making his debut against Argentina in Rosario in 2012.

The Barbarians added that 50 000 tickets for the match at Twickenham - which has a capacity of some 82 000 - had already been sold for the Australia fixture, proof of the enduring popularity of their fixtures.

Although not normally accorded Test status, matches for the Barbarians have traditionally been regarded as a significant honour for the players selected.

The Barbarians' most celebrated fixture was their 23-11 win against New Zealand in Cardiff in 1973.

Gareth Edwards's opening score, when the outstanding Wales scrumhalf finished off a seven-man length-of-the-field move initiated by Wales halfback partner Phil Bennett, is widely regarded as one of rugby union's greatest tries.

The Barbarians, with now professional leading clubs in Britain and Ireland ever more unwilling to release players for matches which, unlike full Tests, they are not obliged to do so by International Rugby Board regulations, have become increasingly reliant on southern hemisphere stars such as Cummins.

This was demonstrated most recently when New Zealand's Hosea Gear scored two tries for the Barbarians in their 39-29 win over England at Twickenham in June.

Read more on:    barbarians  |  wallabies  |  nick cummins  |  rugby

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