Written by Stuart McLennan
If you live in Australia it would be hard to not to be aware of former Wallaby and star of the Bachelor TV series Nick ‘The Honey Badger’’ Cummins as he continues to grow his celebrity status.
On the other side of the world, however, it his brother who is lapping up the media attention after playing a starring role in Norway’s recent upset win over Germany in their 2021 Rugby League World Cup qualifying match.
Nathan Cummins was the catalyst for the 40-22 victory that left Norway on top of Group C (North) and through to the next stage of the World Cup qualifiers after he set up two tries and scored one himself playing five-eighth for his adopted nation.
Cummins, who goes by the less extravagant nickname of ‘Cummo’ met his partner in Perth in 2010 and says he “was dragged back to Norway by her”. He permanently resides in the Scandinavian country.
It was an unlikely victory for the Norwegians as they were sitting at the bottom of the group ladder following a loss to the Czech Republic and needing to beat the Germans by more than 14 points.
“We managed to remove the many errors from our game against Czech Republic and surprised ourselves on the day. We took chances and played as if we had nothing to lose. It was a great feeling to bounce back in that fashion and realise what we are capable of after some underwhelming performances.
“It made the prime time news on television here and gave some welcome attention to the sport,” he told Everything Rugby League.
As an Australian Cummins brings knowledge and years of experience to the side having grown up playing the rugby codes, however, he says most of his team mates are local Norwegian products.
“Norway has eight clubs, four in the north and four in the south. Due to Rugby leagues’ relative simplicity, we used this code as a way to bring new Norwegians into our local club. I am club president and a player in the Stavanger Rugby Club and we took the decision three years ago to play rugby league as a means of developing the oval ball sport. Rugby league in Norway has a majority of Norwegian born players which is the key to growing the sport here.”
Cummins’ rugby union background came to the fore in the match against Germany in the 64th minute when immediately after a scrum win he hoisted the ball high (a tactic rarely used in rugby league) and his winger gathered the ball on the bounce and scored to the enjoyment of the home crowd.
Norway will play Greece in the next step of the qualifying process after Greece finished on top of Group C (South) with respective wins over Ukraine and Malta. The date and venue of the Norway vs Greece match are yet to be announced.
“The match against Greece will no doubt be the toughest game Norway has played in. We don’t have any real big name players so it will be especially important to function well as a team on the day to stay in the contest.”
Cummins who is one of eight siblings will take some motivation from the success of brother Nick as Norway continue on their quest for a 2021 Rugby League World Cup berth.
“Nick of course is an inspiration to us all in his unique way. We’ve played rugby together as kids along with our older brother Luke and he’s always great to have around the camp. “