Foley slams ARU after Nick Cummins departure

By David Barbeler, David Barbeler is a Roar Guru


74 Have your say

    Western Force coach Michael Foley says Australian rugby has been “caught with its pants down” in letting Nick “Honey Badger” Cummins leave for Japan.

    Cummins chose not to speak to the media after his farewell game for the Force against the Brumbies in Canberra on Friday night.

    Instead it was his soon to be ex-teammates he was most concerned about, advising he was off for a “few drinks with the boys” whilst leaving the dressing sheds with a slab of Crownies on his shoulder.

    But his coach Foley had no qualms shouldering the Force’s share of the “Badgerisms”.

    Cummins was released from his Australian Rugby Union (ARU) and Force contracts one-year early on compassionate grounds to earn bigger bucks in Japan to provide for his sick family.

    But Foley clearly believes the ARU could’ve reached a little deeper into their pockets to retain one of the game’s most recognisable faces.

    “Australian rugby in my opinion got caught with its pants down letting him go to Japan,” Foley said after the 47-25 loss knocked his side out of finals contention.

    “It’s something we’ve got to think really hard about.

    “At a time where we’re talking about the commercial challenges of the game and we let a player like that go.

    “And I don’t mean just an international player but a player with that profile and that appeal across demographics that very few other players touch.”

    Foley was full of praise for the 15 Test winger’s character both on and off the field.

    “He makes big tackles for us, he makes big runs for us, he’s wholehearted. He rips in,” he said.

    “He’s fearless in the way he plays, he’s the only winger that’s ever come back from Test duty with a sore neck, I don’t know how that happened but the reality is he runs hard at the contact.

    “Off the field he’s a character, he’s very different.

    “He fishes on his day off. He adds a lot of colour to the team and we’ll miss him.”

    Foley also indicated he would work hard to have Cummins loaned back to the Force next year – a la George Smith for the Brumbies in 2013.

    “As a coach I’d really love him to come back. I’m encouraging Mark (Sinderberry) our CEO to make it happen because I think he’s excellent for us.”

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    The Crowd Says (74)

    • July 13th 2014 @ 6:08am
      Nek Minnut said | July 13th 2014 @ 6:08am | ! Report

      Im really surprised that his coach is upset that one of his best players is leaving.

      • July 13th 2014 @ 7:21am
        soapit said | July 13th 2014 @ 7:21am | ! Report

        great contribution

        • July 13th 2014 @ 8:42am
          Nek Minnut said | July 13th 2014 @ 8:42am | ! Report

          Better than yours mate.
          Better than most of yours.

          Did you expect him to be happy about losing Cummins?

          I thought hed be pretty p1ssed myself, being that Cummins is the only Wallaby starter in his team and all.

          What is he really angry about, the ARU losing promotion or him losing one of his key players?

          • July 13th 2014 @ 4:17pm
            soapit said | July 13th 2014 @ 4:17pm | ! Report

            nup, nup, nup, probably both.

            think that covers it

      • Roar Guru

        July 13th 2014 @ 10:14am
        El Gamba said | July 13th 2014 @ 10:14am | ! Report

        You’re being obtuse Tane. Obviously the coach is upset but his point is that he doesn’t think enough was done to allow him to stay. It is a missed opportunity.

        • July 13th 2014 @ 1:03pm
          Nek Minnut said | July 13th 2014 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

          Thats right.

          But heres the thing, asking Foley if he thinks that more should have been done to keep Cummins is about as sensible as asking the Greens leader if we should cut some trees down to build a detention centre for boat people, its pointless because you already know the answer.
          Cummins was the Forces biggest star attraction and a key player on and off the pitch. Why would Foley not want him to be kept?

          Heres my guess, the ARU cant afford to make concessions for any player in the form of bending rules or setting precedents that are unsustainable. They would have been approached by Cummins and made aware of his situation and weighed up their options and found that it was the right call to allow him to leave Australia to persue his money overseas because they could not match or afford the overseas offer and it would be unethical to stop Cummins from providing for his family in need.

          The ARU could have got it wrong but we have no idea of why they couldnt match or bend the rules in order for renegotiations, perhaps the line has been drawn and crossing it was not an option in any circumstances, perhaps rules would have to be changes to keep him here, perhaps they have spoken to Ewen and Cummins Japanese club and the possibility of Cummins returning for Super rugby is high and Ewen has said that its not ideal but wing is well covered.

          The point is that the ARU isnt silly but listening to the one person who would be expected to be the most keen to keep Cummins is.

          • July 13th 2014 @ 1:37pm
            AussiKiwi said | July 13th 2014 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

            But heres the thing, asking Foley if he thinks that more should have been done to keep Cummins is about as sensible as asking the Greens leader if we should cut some trees down to build a detention centre for boat people, its pointless because you already know the answer.

            That made me laugh, but these days if the detention centre was in Australia rather than in some corrupt lawless tropical hellhole they might even prefer it as the lesser evil.

          • Roar Guru

            July 13th 2014 @ 1:43pm
            El Gamba said | July 13th 2014 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

            Just because his opinion is obvious doesn’t mean it isn’t valid. Players going overseas is an issue for Australian rugby, more so than NZ or SA because we haven’t established the pathways yet (although I maintain it is improving) Cummins was mid contract so it is an unusual situation.I think that you are over simplifying this though I understand where you are coming from. Some may suggest that the ARU is silly though it is impossible to know what happened behind closed doors. At face value it looks like they may have undervalued a player which would be a valid discussion point.

            • July 13th 2014 @ 1:52pm
              Nek Minnut said | July 13th 2014 @ 1:52pm | ! Report

              Wait, Im over simplifying it?
              Well I strongly disagree because Im trying to say that its not just a simple matter, thats kind of my whole point in that last post.

              Everyone including Foley are suggesting that the ARU should have just payed more but its not that simple and Foley is probably not the best one to be listened to on the matter because he has his own agendas, he may have a point but he may also just want whats best for him and the Force and keeping Cummins is in his interest but may not be in Cummins or the ARUs best interest.


              • July 13th 2014 @ 3:30pm
                snowman said | July 13th 2014 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

                I agree with you.

              • July 13th 2014 @ 6:26pm
                Chivas said | July 13th 2014 @ 6:26pm | ! Report

                He may also just want what is best for the a force and rugby in WA which just might translate into what is best for rugby in Australia. A point you may have overlooked in your desire to express that Foley is completely self interested.

              • July 14th 2014 @ 11:25am
                Spanners said | July 14th 2014 @ 11:25am | ! Report

                The ARU didn’t have to pay him a cent more than they already were. He was contracted to them and they released him on compassionate grounds, so it wasn’t about the ARU kicking in more money that they don’t have. Foley has a very valid point in that the ARU have cut loose a player who has a following that has crossed over to SA, NZ and through all the codes in Australia. Show 100 Aussie rules fans in Melbourne a photo of the Wallaby captain and I’d be surprised if 5% knew who Hooper was. Show the same group a photo of Cummins and I bet my house most recognise the Honey Badger. His personality is good for the code and he creates brilliant free publicity every time he opens his mouth. Why pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in marketing when the Badger can do it better for free?

          • July 13th 2014 @ 5:05pm
            soapit said | July 13th 2014 @ 5:05pm | ! Report

            so marketing a character like cummins is setting precedents and making concessions? the aru really have things r’s about if that the way they think.

          • July 13th 2014 @ 8:49pm
            fredstone said | July 13th 2014 @ 8:49pm | ! Report

            Frees up a lot of dough for the next big league convert

    • July 13th 2014 @ 6:12am
      Jerry said | July 13th 2014 @ 6:12am | ! Report

      I can kind of see his point though, there could be some 3rd party payment or even a media role (he’s certainly got the personality and profile) that would allow Cummins to make the extra money he needs to take care of his family while allowing him to stay in Australia.

      • July 13th 2014 @ 6:27am
        Nek Minnut said | July 13th 2014 @ 6:27am | ! Report

        Is that allowed or would they have to change rules for that to happen?

        Im pretty sure we will see Cummins getting some “meat” for the Force next year but not for the Wallabies much if at all.

        It sounds like its a multi year deal and he wont make the WC.

        The Wallabies will have to slum it with JOC, Tomane, AAC and Speight on the wings. Poor Wallabies.

        • July 13th 2014 @ 6:43am
          Jerry said | July 13th 2014 @ 6:43am | ! Report

          It’s allowed though I’m not sure how the 3rd party thing works when someone is still under contract (ie is there provision to renegotiate on compassionate grounds).

          • July 13th 2014 @ 9:54am
            Bakkies said | July 13th 2014 @ 9:54am | ! Report

            I think due to the Firepower sham there is a tighter limit on who can get third party deals. If Cummins got offered one to stay than Ben Mowen and other Wallabies who are off might feel aggrieved.

            • July 13th 2014 @ 11:07am
              Jerry said | July 13th 2014 @ 11:07am | ! Report

              The difference is that Cummins has cultivated enough popularity that he could genuinely merit a 3rd party sponsorship and actually raise the profile of his sponsor.

          • July 13th 2014 @ 5:13pm
            soapit said | July 13th 2014 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

            as opposed to him leaving the contract altogether youd think theyd be able to find a way to negotiate it.

    • July 13th 2014 @ 6:51am
      Bazza Allblack Supporter said | July 13th 2014 @ 6:51am | ! Report

      I suspect his overseas deal is worth more that we think..

      It is sad, but one person does not make a team.

      • July 13th 2014 @ 7:38am
        soapit said | July 13th 2014 @ 7:38am | ! Report

        i think its more the off field stuff he saying is a missed opportunity

        he should be doing beer ads by now if the aru had its act together

        • July 13th 2014 @ 8:44am
          Nek Minnut said | July 13th 2014 @ 8:44am | ! Report

          Yeah the coach of the Force would be more concerned about off field stuff rather than winning games for the Force.

          The ARU acted on compassionate grounds instead of making him a prisoner for the sake of Cummins family.

          • July 13th 2014 @ 10:01am
            bennalong said | July 13th 2014 @ 10:01am | ! Report

            Soapit is talking about the ARU Nek, and you’re talking about Foley and the Force.

            I’m on the other side of Australia but from my point of view both would have been soluble if as soapit says Cummins was allowed to, even encouraged to, pursue a promotional role like Izzy.

            Rugby gets bugger all press in the sports pages.

            Izzy is worth much more than just his try scoring ability and pulls leaguies, including the leaguie sports writers.

            Cummins appeals to heaps of people. The bloke is grounded despite being a cack, and his 100% effort and enthusiasm, visible on the field, is also a positive for team mates off it.

            You can’t quantify that effect on the team, but advertisers will pay big money for it.

            People are moved by his family needs and that makes him a special case.

            The ARU has dropped the pass! Again!

            • July 13th 2014 @ 1:12pm
              Nek Minnut said | July 13th 2014 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

              Thanks but no he is referring to what Foley said in his post.

              The ARU loves to advertise alcohol too. Its right up their alley.

              Listen its not as if the ARU are m0rons that cant grasp what a player is worth and decide if it is possible to keep him.

              For all we know he has been offered more than hes worth to the ARU and that guy Folau could be leaving too.

              Its not that they dont want to keep these players, its that they cant match overseas deals.

              Maybe the ARU is blind and cant see what the Honey Badger is worth but I think they probably can and they arnt willing to set a precedent in order for him to be kept when he could be back next year and advertising the game anyway.

              • July 13th 2014 @ 4:29pm
                soapit said | July 13th 2014 @ 4:29pm | ! Report

                foley is referring to what the aru should do. of course theres a vested interest but to understand the argument requires a bit more a of subtle look at the issue than ‘he’s upset cos his player is leaving’. i dont think i’ll be responding to many more times unless it starts to seem like ur capable of that and start grasping things better.

                so on a side point of yours (hopefully a stronger area for you), the aru loves to advertise alcohol? what was the latest beer ad featuring wallabies you saw on telly? theres a significant demographic the aru needs to grow which they havent made great strides in and thats specifically the one cummins would be reaching, beer is just one way they could have done it. a certain type people would much much rather see an ad with cummins than joc.

              • July 14th 2014 @ 6:59pm
                Bakkies said | July 14th 2014 @ 6:59pm | ! Report

                No idea about how much Cummins’ dad needs for his treatment financially and he has 7 other kids that don’t earn as much as Nick. Some are still at school to prepare for uni or apprenticeships so will need support. His dad also has to the mortgage/rent, school fees, loans and to put food on the table. Those costs would be difficult for the ARU to match contract wise given Cummins standing in the player ranks.

    • July 13th 2014 @ 7:48am
      Ron Burgundy said | July 13th 2014 @ 7:48am | ! Report

      is he that big a loss on the field?

      speight made him look 2nd rate…

      off the field yes he’s a personality but as a player he’s very over-rated and i think he knew he had buckley’s of making the world cup team with Speight waiting in the literal wings.

      • July 13th 2014 @ 8:03am
        Billy Bob said | July 13th 2014 @ 8:03am | ! Report

        ‘Over-rated’? No.
        All his fans, myself included, are aware of his talent limits but you just cannot buy commitment like the Badger’s.
        Also, it was probably not his happiest game in his OZ career, leaving the Force this weekend, in current circumstances.

        • July 13th 2014 @ 10:46am
          Ron Burgundy said | July 13th 2014 @ 10:46am | ! Report

          he is good enough to play test rugby, getting a start when we had all those injuries in 2012, and then hanging onto his spot, so of course he is a loss to the force… but he is not that important to the wallabies… if we have all our wingers available he would not make the team.

          • July 13th 2014 @ 2:08pm
            Rock said | July 13th 2014 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

            He woukd gave been in the squad hands down, for what he lacks in talent he more then makes up for in commitment and passion. And you’d take those traits over talent any day.

      • July 13th 2014 @ 6:01pm
        Crazy Horse said | July 13th 2014 @ 6:01pm | ! Report

        Last year cummins was all over Speight. Who knows who will come out on top next time they meet.

    • July 13th 2014 @ 9:39am
      redder than kevin said | July 13th 2014 @ 9:39am | ! Report

      If you don’t want to play for the wallabies, sianarra. Nobody is bigger than the game. There is only a certain amount of money to go around.

      • Roar Guru

        July 13th 2014 @ 10:12am
        El Gamba said | July 13th 2014 @ 10:12am | ! Report

        “Nobody is bigger than the game” true but I think Foley’s point is that you can use a guy like Cummins to make the game bigger. Was Folau a waste for GWS? Arguably the AFL marketed the hell out of the guy and got their money’s worth through raising their profile.

        • July 13th 2014 @ 1:20pm
          Nek Minnut said | July 13th 2014 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

          Is Folau staying in Australian union?
          I bet he doesnt.

          • Roar Guru

            July 13th 2014 @ 1:44pm
            El Gamba said | July 13th 2014 @ 1:44pm | ! Report

            No idea but in my opinion the ARU should do whatever it takes to keep him.

            • July 13th 2014 @ 6:44pm
              Chan Wee said | July 13th 2014 @ 6:44pm | ! Report

              OZ really have no idea how to handle or market or use the marquee players.

              they have still got the English hangover of “game is bigger than individuals” ” must promote a team not people” “evryone contributes to teams’ success” blah blah blah.

              Someone like Cummins would be a major hit in USA or India . They are millions of years ahead in sports marketing.

              For OZ , the first step would be to tie up with one of the big 3 , Nike Adidas , Puma for their gear. Therest will fall into place within a couple of years.

              Who knows of ASICS outside OZ & NZ and the closeby islands 🙂

              • July 13th 2014 @ 11:51pm
                Bakkies said | July 13th 2014 @ 11:51pm | ! Report

                SA and some clubs in France.

    • July 13th 2014 @ 9:58am
      redder than kevin said | July 13th 2014 @ 9:58am | ! Report

      I dont understand why so many players are leaving now that we are doing exceptionally well under Mckenzie, but so many stayed in the dark days of deans when we had such limited success?

      • July 13th 2014 @ 10:07am
        bennalong said | July 13th 2014 @ 10:07am | ! Report

        Cummins needs the dough, Redder. His dad has prostate cancer and two kids with cystic fibrosis. No mum.

        The game gives no certainty and your career can end at any time with injury

        I saw a video on Matt Giteau’s life in the sunny south of France.

        He’s a hero there, and the game is nowhere near as intense as the Super series!

        There also don’t appear to be the negative trolls we have here criticising players in bitter and twisted blogs.

        Hell, Barnes went to Japan to let his body recover!

        • Roar Guru

          July 13th 2014 @ 12:13pm
          Owen McCaffrey said | July 13th 2014 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

          Exactly what I said. Northern and Japanese Rugby is less intense

          • July 13th 2014 @ 1:31pm
            Nek Minnut said | July 13th 2014 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

            I dont believe that the high stakes of European rugby is less intense considering relegation, lucrative European spots and a lot more money are on the line when none of that applies to Super Rugby.
            If you mean that the week to week comp is of a lower standard then I agree but its changing fast with more Super teams being added and more of our players joining their clubs.

          • July 14th 2014 @ 2:25pm
            Football United said | July 14th 2014 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

            Saying northern (in particular European) Rugby is less intense is garbage. Their season has twice as many games and much more on the line with Relegation, League titles and European competitions meaning every game counts, unlike super rugby where if you are outside the top 10 you might as well give up.

      • July 13th 2014 @ 10:38am
        Bakkies said | July 13th 2014 @ 10:38am | ! Report

        Players stayed in the Deans’ days due to the Lions series. McKenzie is picking various players mostly on form so if your form suffers or if another player is playing better Rugby you could be out. No one is really safe anymore and ARU contracts are limited plus there has payments cut.

        The Rugby is still intense due to the amount of games and weather conditions in the Winter. Bakkies said in an interview with Sky Sports that the season never seems to end.

        • Roar Guru

          July 13th 2014 @ 12:11pm
          Owen McCaffrey said | July 13th 2014 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

          Which is why I advocated for Super Rugby players to be able to sit out the NRC.

          • July 13th 2014 @ 1:40pm
            Nek Minnut said | July 13th 2014 @ 1:40pm | ! Report

            Wouldnt it be best to try and attract people to the NRC with stars rather than have no top players at all?

          • July 13th 2014 @ 4:33pm
            soapit said | July 13th 2014 @ 4:33pm | ! Report

            and still doesnt make sense

            • July 13th 2014 @ 8:00pm
              Bakkies said | July 13th 2014 @ 8:00pm | ! Report

              A lot of what Owen types doesn’t make sense and you are restricting them to a short season. If the season was longer players wouldn’t be looking for other deals to keep match fit. George Smith played for Stade Francais in the Japan off season. It hasn’t been uncommon for Aus players to go and play NPC or CC post Super Rugby.

              • Roar Guru

                July 13th 2014 @ 10:14pm
                Owen McCaffrey said | July 13th 2014 @ 10:14pm | ! Report

                Thats because Japanese rugby is multiples less intensive than Super Rugby.

                And you know that. So…apples to Oranges.

                Super Rugby players are managed under their CBA to play less than around 25-30 matches per season.

                What you can’t get your head around (and probably never will) is that it actually isn’t the number of matches that ismost important but how long they are spaced out ie. After the NRC there will be no longer any off season for Australian Super Rugby Players. NZ players have put up with this situation too.

                There is no period of the year where they are not bashing and crashing and stretching their bodies to their limits. None. Name a month. They are training or playing. You think fine. I say player drain.

                I say Nick Cummins. I say players will continue to choose offshore leagues where they are treated better, paid more, get longer contracts of secured money. All things you decry as silly but all things that players say are important for them and their families.

                Time people started living in the real world.

              • July 14th 2014 @ 12:20am
                Bakkies said | July 14th 2014 @ 12:20am | ! Report

                So why pay the players good sums to get them to stay when they aren’t playing? The clubs are the paymaster to justify the wages they pay them to play not to sit around for three month off seasons which would drive them bonkers. It’s their job and like us mere mortals they get four weeks off a year. In Europe they play more games and they get to go home to their families every week.

                It’s the reality of professional rugby.

      • July 13th 2014 @ 1:37pm
        Nek Minnut said | July 13th 2014 @ 1:37pm | ! Report