Cummins’ return set to boost Force

Date published: February 24 2015

After rejoining the Western Force, wing Nick Cummins is determined to win a recall to the Wallabies squad for the Rugby World Cup.

Cummins left the Force to further his career in Japan last year and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika wants the 27-year-old to regain the form which made him a regular starter for Australia before his departure.

"He is on our radar, 100 per cent, there's no doubt about that, but he has to prove himself like every player," Cheika told the Western Australian.

"It's a form-related issue. There are a few ifs and buts and who pushes through is the players' responsibility.

"Everyone likes Cummins for a lot of reasons but as a coach you like him because he's 100 per cent every time he plays."

Cummins trained with the Force on Monday for the first time since moving to the Red Sparks at the end of the2014 Super Rugby season. He has been out of action for about six weeks and had floating bone removed from his left ankle last month.

He must prove his fitness before Force boss Michael Foley includes him for the clash with the Hurricanes in Perth on Friday.

"Bloody oath I'd be keen to play," said Cummins.

"I've got a few run-throughs, rehab-type stuff, to see if I'll be right for this week. If not, then it will be next week."

The Red sparks has released Cummins for eight months with his return underwritten by a local syndicate who put together a salary top-up package.

Meanwhile, Western Force and Wallabies prop Tetera Faulkner has re-committed to the Perth-based franchise and Australian rugby for a further two seasons until the end of 2017.

His re-signing continues the club’s consolidation of its front-row stocks, with Pek Cowan, Nathan Charles and Oliver Hoskins having already renewed their stays with the club to the end of 2016.

Faulkner, 26, initially began his career with the Force as an injury cover during the 2011 season, before developing himself into a starting member of the squad over the past four seasons.

The powerful and versatile front-row, who has played 31 matches for the Force, was recognised for his consistent form through 2014 when he was called into the Wallabies squad for the end of the Rugby Championship, before being selected for the Spring Tour.

Faulkner made his Test debut in Australia’s 33-28 win over Wales at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, before earning a further cap against Ireland in Dublin.

Faulkner said he’s pleased to have locked in the next two seasons in Perth.

“I know this is the best for me to be playing my rugby – we have a great bunch of boys and a great coaching staff which made this a pretty easy decision,” he told the Western Force's official website.

“We’ve absolutely loved living in Perth; my family has now grown up here for the last four years and its somewhere that just feels like home.

“I’ve learned a lot during my time with the Force – particularly over the past two seasons. It’s been great having Foles [Head Coach, Michael Foley] coming in. Being a fellow front-rower, I’ve learned a lot from him, and Footey [Attack/Backs Coach, Kevin Foote] and Blood [Senior Assistant Coach, Dave Wessels] have been great in developing other areas of my game.

“It’s been fantastic to be a part of this team. There aren’t any egos, and everyone’s determined to play for each other. Following the success we had last year, I feel like there are some exciting times around this group and I was very keen to be a part of that.”

Foley said he’s pleased to maintain another member of his current starting front row.

“Tet’s worked hard over the last two seasons to firstly establish himself in the match 23 and then to achieve more starts in the run-on team," he explained.

"We were all thrilled to see his efforts rewarded with Wallabies selection last year.

“Importantly, it takes a lot of perseverance and hard work to become a world class #3 and ‘Tet’ has shown a real appetite for the challenge.

“As our focus has been to retain, develop and promote from within, we’re extremely pleased to have players like Tet continuing to see their future with the Force.”