MEET THE Honey BACH­E­LOR

RUGBY LAR­RIKIN TO SHAKE UP NEW SEA­SON OF TV DAT­ING GAME

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - FRONT PAGE - ALI­SON STEPHENSON

AUS­TRALIA’S most love­able rugby lar­rikin, Nick “The Honey Badger” Cum­mins, looks set to re­badge him­self as the coun­try’s most el­i­gi­ble bloke by be­com­ing Chan­nel 10’s next Bach­e­lor.

The rugby union star, who is tak­ing a break from the game after notch­ing up 15 Test matches with the Wal­la­bies, is tipped to be the shock new choice to front the pop­u­lar dat­ing show, which be­gins film­ing next week.

Fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of bulked-up hunks Tim Ro­bards and Matthew ‘ Matty J’ John­son, Ten was keen to choose a well­known per­son­al­ity who could em­u­late the suc­cess of So­phie Monk’s turn as The Bach­e­lorette — the Aus­tralian fran­chise’s first “celebrity” sin­gle.

Monk, who was ini­tially seen as a rat­ings risk, de­liv­ered Ten the high­est au­di­ence in its four-year his­tory thanks to her hu­mour and “love­able bo­gan” ap­peal.

Now the net­work is hop­ing the Honey Badger will de­liver a sim­i­lar rat­ings sweet­ener, with his pro­file, sense of hu­mour and sports fol­low­ing all part of the strat­egy to pull in more male view­ers to add to the show’s de­voted le­gion of fe­male fans.

Some Ten ex­ec­u­tives were re­luc­tant to take on the un­con­ven­tional bach­e­lor but net­work sources say the cheeky Cum­mins won over chief con­tent of­fi­cer Bev­er­ley McGar­vey.

Cum­mins, who was born in Port Mac­quarie, has be­come as well known off the field as he has for his per­for­mance on it.

He has been a cult fig­ure in Su­per Rugby, with fans don­ning curly blonde wigs and quot­ing his fa­mous Aussie one-lin­ers.

Of­ten de­scribed as “the most Aussie bloke ever”, the 30-yearold adopted the Honey Badger moniker after watch­ing a Na­tional Geo­graphic doco of the mod­estly sized an­i­mal tak­ing on a lion.

“I thought ‘what an an­i­mal, that’s im­pres­sive’,” he said of the badger’s never-say-die at­ti­tude.

On top of cre­at­ing some of the best one-lin­ers, the love­able lar­rikin has been as lu­cra­tive to ad­ver­tis­ing ex­ec­u­tives as he has to rugby clubs. He is a Tourism Aus­tralia am­bas­sador and has been the face of Tradie Un­der­wear & Work­wear, Beef Aus­tralia, Head & Shoul­ders sham­poo and beer com­pany Iron Jack. But the one area of his life he hasn’t been as lucky in is the love de­part­ment.

Cum­mins is be­lieved to have been sin­gle since split­ting from his long-term girl­friend, the Nor­we­gian artist Mar­tine Thomassen.

The pair, who met through Cum­mins’ brother Nathan after a Western Force match in Perth, cel­e­brated their five-year an­niver­sary in April 2016 but called it quits not long after.

More than 20 women are ex­pected to en­ter the Bach­e­lor man­sion on Wed­nes­day in a bid to win them­selves a new honey to take home.

Chan­nel Ten de­clined to com­ment on the spec­u­la­tion about the iden­tity of the Bach­e­lor but an an­nounce­ment is ex­pected to be made next week.

The Honey Badger, also known as Nick Cum­mins, may soon be look­ing for a honey on TV.

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