Australian Rugby Union and RugbyWA today announced Qantas Wallaby and Western Force winger Nick Cummins has been granted an early release from his contract to play Rugby in Japan at the end of the 2014 Asteron Life Super Rugby season.
The decision has been made based on unique family circumstances.
CEO Rugby WA Mark Sinderberry said it’s hoped the conditions of Cummins’ release will allow him to play with the Force again next year.
“We’d certainly like to see Nick back in Force colours beyond this season,” he said. “He’s a player that gives his all on field. He has been a great representative for our club over the past seven years and, as a result, is an extremely popular member both within the team and with our supporters.
“While he’s a player that we’d love to hang on to, we understand Nick’s situation and we respect that this is an outcome that is best for Nick at the present time.”
Watch the press conference with RugbyWA CEO Mark Sinderberry here.
Cummins has played 72 Asteron Life Super Rugby matches for the Western Force since making his debut against the Sharks in Durban in 2008. In 2012, he won the Western Force Members MVP and is the side’s leading try-scorer in 2014 – equal with captain Matt Hodgson – with six tries.
Cummins made his debut for the Qantas Wallabies in 2012 against Argentina in Rosario. Having previously represented the Australian Sevens in 2006 and 2007, he then won a silver medal as part of Australia’s Commonwealth Games Sevens campaign in 2010 in Delhi, India.
Cummins will take to the field this Saturday (5 July) in Perth when the Western Force takes on the Queensland Reds at the ‘Force Field’ (nib Stadium).
Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver said Cummins will be missed.
“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.”
CEO of the Rugby Union Players’ Association Greg Harris has worked with Cummins, his family and representatives from Australian Rugby Union and RugbyWA on the matter.
“We’re grateful for the way this matter has been handled and we feel that considering the circumstances, the appropriate decision has been made. We’re glad Nick’s welfare has been considered by granting an early release from his contract.”
Qantas Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie wished Cummins all the best.
“It is very disappointing to lose a player of Nick’s calibre but after discussing the issues at hand, we appreciate that this is a decision based on what is best for him and his family at this time.”
“He will be sorely missed by the Qantas Wallabies for his contributions on and off the field.”
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