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Friday September 6, 2013 MYT 3:42:01 PM
Friday September 6, 2013 MYT 3:43:00 PM
by ciaran baynes
Australian Wallabies' coach Robbie Deans (C) talks as rugby players Kane Douglas (L) and Nick Cummins listen during a news conference in central Sydney June 2, 2013. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz
BRISBANE (Reuters) - Humility is not the first word to spring to mind at the mention of Nick Cummins but that was the emotion the flamboyant winger said he was feeling after being included in Australia's back line to face South Africa this weekend.
Despite a run of four defeats in their last five tests, there is a palpable sense of excitement about Australia's selection for Saturday's Rugby Championship test, even in the absence of injured skipper James Horwill.
Part of a new-look backline with Quade Cooper restored at flyhalf and Israel Folau playing fullback for the first time in test rugby, Cummins is certain the team will play a brand of rugby to entertain the Lang Park fans.
The loquacious winger, who goes by the self-awarded nickname Honey Badger, plays his first test of 2013 after a knee injury forced him out of the Lions series.
Although conceding this was "shattering", he says it only strengthened his resolve to claim a position on the wing, where an opportunity has opened up after Digby Ioane and Drew Mitchell opted to play club rugby in France.
"It's an exciting thing to gel together and bring something we haven't seen before," Cummins told a news conference on Friday.
"We want to leave a legacy for ourselves and the team. I'm humbled to be in with that bunch of characters, maybe I've got to do something to deserve it.
"Imagine running off Izzy and Quade. Blokes that can bend the line and do it themselves.
"With Drew Mitchell and Digby leaving, two great wingers, hopefully I can slide in there at some point and hold onto one of those jerseys."
Cummins, whose curly blond mane makes him unmistakable on the pitch, admits he is as on edge about playing with Cooper on Saturday night as the South Africans will be about facing him.
A cult figure at the Western Force, Cummins has never played alongside the Queensland number ten for Australia and Cooper's unorthodox style has taken some time to get used to in training.
"You just become very cautious about everything," Cummins said. "You're on edge. Bloody nervous as hell, just making sure you're in the right spot.
"At training you're standing there thinking it will get passed out normally and then he's kicked it to you and if you're not there he'll be after you and that's fair enough.
"You've got to be aware and ready to go and he'll make you that way.
"I'm really excited to run off him this weekend. He can think on his feet. He'll read the defence very well and we'll be able to come up with something that will benefit us backs."
Australia go into Saturday's match at the bottom of the Rugby Championship standings after opening their campaign with two defeats to New Zealand.
(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)
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