Nick Cummins - aka the Honey Badger - is a dad and a doting one at that.
The former Wallabies player recently welcomed his first son with partner Alexandra George, and his trip to Aotearoa this week marked the first time he has been away from their child since his birth nine weeks ago.
It’s something the star admits has been hard: “Yeah, it is hard,” he said, “All of a sudden you’re just thinking, you know, he needs me and I need to be there.”
Thankfully, he packed a little piece of home to make the separation a bit easier, “I’ve got one of his little shirts in my bag,” the new father gushes.
“Just so you know, at night, before you go to bed, just have a look at it and just appreciate it all, because I think a healthy baby is just all we want, especially in these times.”
Cummins is in Aotearoa to promote the T20 Black Clash, an iconic face-off between New Zealand’s biggest rugby and cricket stars with next year’s match seeing him enter the game as a wildcard.
“I’ll offer a bit of morale for the boys,” he laughs.
The former rugby star turned TV personality is playing alongside cricket stars like Grant Elliot, Adam Parore and Nathan McCullum as they face off against rugby stars, Richie McCaw, Jordie Barrett and Will Jordan in a T20 cricket match of great rivalry - but great camaraderie.
Sitting down with the Herald, the star revealed who he is most looking forward to seeing on the field, the least excited about seeing and keeping with the wild card theme, he answered a few wild card questions of our own.
10 questions with the Honey Badger:
What’s the wildest thing you’ve ever done
“Probably catching buffalo up in the Northern Territory,” he says. “I actually got horned and had to get airlifted to a hospital which was a bit scary but it’s missed the kidneys so it was all good.”
Who are you least excited to go up against?
Cummins is set to come face to face with many great Kiwi rugby players, including his pal, Israel Dagg, but there is one person he is least excited to go up against.
“I mean, I think it’s just intimidating just seeing and hearing about Will Jordan’s freakish looks. He’s a handsome man and he really holds a presence there and he can actually bat too.”
Who are you most excited to go up against?
“It’ll be good to see Izzy out there,” he says referring to Dagg. “He’s always showing me up on the field so it’ll be good to some way just bowl a bouncer and get a hold of him or something like that.
“Just shake him up a bit.”
One reality TV show you would never go on
Cummins stared in Australia’s 2018 season of The Bachelor and became one of the most talked about bachelors in history when he decided not to choose a winner. It was a choice that left audiences rattled as he flew his two finalists – Brittany Hockley and Sophie Tieman – over to New Caledonia before making his decision.
Now, the star admits he would never go on the show again but he might be keen for SAS.
Did you go on the Bachelor just for the Tim Tams
“Well, they are delicious,” he laughs.
If rugby didn’t work out for you what career would you have picked?
He made a name for himself as a professional rugby player, competing in both national and international competitions but the 35-year-old star says if he didn’t do that he was going to be in the army.
“It was the army, the mines or rugby, they were my three,” he says. “I thought, well if I go to the army or the mines, they’re gonna change your mind. They mould you to become a bit of a weapon. So, I thought I won’t be able to go back to rugby after that. So start with rugby and then work your way there.”
Do you have Robert Irwin on your contact list
As a bit of a wildlife wrangler himself, Cummins reveals he does have Steve Irwin’s son in his network.
“He’s a very knowledgeable man and he’s doing great things for wildlife as a whole and in Australia.”
Chances of you hitting a 6
“Believe it or not, in my first game at school I hit a six, and I was bowled out the next ball but that’s not the point.
“So I’m happy I’ve ticked that off, but I would love it.”
What trade would you go into?
He’s the ambassador for the Australian underwear brand Tradie and says if he had to go into a trade he would want to be an electrician.
“Just to put a bit of spice, buzz things up a bit.”
What is your favourite animal?
It’s something that could have been guessed. “The honey badger,” Cummins reveals.
“You’ve gotta see the thing in action, he says adding, “There’s an entourage that follows the little mongrel because he gets into everything. He digs up things, and ferrets and things are fanging out everywhere. And then hawks and falcons and jackals and things are picking up all the off offshoots.
“So he’s a workhorse and it’s just something to strive to.”
And it’s something he might strive to in the T20 Black Clash next year.
What: T20 Black Clash
Who: Cricket and Rugby greats
When: January 20, 2023
Where: Hagley Park, Christchurch
Tickets: Tickets are available now at https://www.blackclash.co.nz/tickets/