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Nick 'Honey Badger' Cummins to play in Japan

Nick 'the Honey Badger' Cummins will move to Japan for family health reasons

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Article Published: Friday 4 July 2014|

Wallabies and Western Force winger Nick Cummins has announced that he will cease playing rugby in Australia and take up a contract with Japan's West Red Sparks at the end of the Super Rugby season.

Cummins has been granted an early release from his contract to play Rugby in Japan based on unique family circumstances.

In a statement Cummins said, "I will be heading to japan at the conclusion of the Western Force's final Super Rugby match."

"The reason for my decision is something that most of the Australian rugby community may be aware of. My family is currently enduring some extremely difficult times in terms of their health and wellbeing and my time in Japan will hopefully provide me with the opportunity to give back to and provide some certainty to my family during this difficult time."

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."

Cummins has played 72 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 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.

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 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."

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 Wallabies for his contributions on and off the field."

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