JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Wallabies door open for Ben Mowen: Ewen McKenzie

Brumbies captain leaves the airport in July with wife Lauren and their daughter Eleanor.

Brumbies captain leaves the airport in July with wife Lauren and their daughter Eleanor. Photo: Melissa Adams

Wallaby coach Ewen McKenzie says he won’t shut the selection door on captain Ben Mowen, who will walk away from the Australian game at the end of the Super Rugby season to take up a deal in France.

The Brumbies backrower stunned the rugby fraternity with the news on Thursday morning, with Fairfax revealing the 29-year-old wanted to spend more time with his young family after seven gruelling months on the road in 2013.

The move will rule Mowen out of the Rugby World Cup in 2015 but McKenzie said his departing skipper may have not played his final game in green and gold.

McKenzie, who is doing the rounds of the franchises as they prepare for the Super Rugby season, said he wouldn’t be rushing into any decisions given the first Test against the touring French wasn’t until June.

“He’s available in 2014. People will want to speculate about what that means. We’ll worry about selection for the Wallabies in six months time. Even last year, there were players that opted to go overseas and we still used them, (Sitaleki) Timani being the example,” McKenzie said.

“There’s things in play for me. We’ve got to get on with the business of developing, we’ve got to win games. We’ll look at the scenario at the time and look who’s performing. There’s no point in speculating.”

Mowen was thrust into the Wallaby captaincy after just six games and proved to be an effective leader for an Australian side trying to reinvent itself in the post-Robbie Deans era.

It took the best part of his career to earn a Wallaby jumper but even before the spring tour, he had spoken to McKenzie about his future and the impact of his prolonged absence on wife Lauren and young daughter Elanor.

“He spoke to me formally on Monday but we’ve been talking for a long time. Even prior to the tour, his contract situation had been discussed. We’ve talked more broadly than that – he’s a pretty measured guy and has been around the scene for a long time,” McKenzie said.

“It’s easy for everyone to sit on the sidelines and speculate and come up with conspiracy theories or whatever. In the end, the primary decision is a family one for him.

“The time away is critical for him. He’s 29 so his life is different to an 18-year-old. People need to understand he has different circumstances.”

McKenzie wouldn’t be drawn into any captaincy speculation either, saying there was ample leadership in the Wallaby squad, including former captain James Horwill, vice-captain Quade Cooper, Will Genia and David Pocock when he returns.

“Same thing. People want to speculate about that. A week is a long time in rugby so six months is a really long time. That will all just evolve,” McKenzie said.

“There’s a lot of leadership capacity. Captaincy is one thing, leadership is another. I’m interested in leadership. The whole team can lead.”

Mowen would have faced stiff competition in a jam-packed Wallaby backrow in 2014, assuming Pocock, Scott Higginbotham and Wycliff Palu are all available and free of injury.

7 comments so far

  • speculators, mmmmm, must be backs!
    Let's just get on with the business of building and evolving.
    I like to see the future in the hands of a prop; just trust he didn't have as many head knocks as me!! Good onya Ewen!

    Richard of North Sydney
    Date and time
    January 09, 2014, 3:07PM
    • Mowen's decision to spend more time with his family is laudable ... and he obviously sees this as his No.1 priority ... but how does he believe that playing for a French club will offer more 'home time' than he would get playing for the Brumbies (Wallabies selection aside)? I suspect that there is more to this decision than simply family matters (remembering his discussions with the ARU concerning contract status).

      As a former member of the Australian Defence Force, I am well aware of the impact of being away from my young family for protracted periods (months at a time). It can be personally demoralising ... but it is not insurmountable (particularly in view of today's technologies and rapid travel capabilities).

      I am disappointed that he is leaving Australian Rugby but wish him all the best and I hope that he finds what he is looking for. As Richard of North Sydney states: "Let's just get on with the business of building and evolving".

      Date and time
      January 09, 2014, 4:17PM
      • Bob, I think he is taking his wife and young child with him to France. He will be based in one area of France, and will travel within France to play way. I'm sorry to see him go, as a Brumbies member, but I understand his decision. You don't get that time with your kids back.

        Date and time
        January 09, 2014, 8:51PM
    • Contrary to what ungrateful, death riding kiwis, trying to prevent Australian rugby from developing any confidence say, we have plenty of depth and talent in Australia and now we have an Australian coach, we are going to be a lot more dangerous. A lot more. Witness cricketers boys. That's what we are talking about. Aggression, pride, commitment, fun.

      Date and time
      January 09, 2014, 5:52PM
      • I'm glad you consider losses to AB's - 3, SA -2, Lions - 2 and England - 1 a successful season.Not to mention a coach who has a 50 PC win /loss ratio, when Deans was on 58PC ,with wins against top sides. The longer the things like fights over player salaries, players quit to play in the north, loss of coach, sackings and ARU finanically hurting keep happening the more the ARU and the wallabies look like a joke. As for the player depth - what player depth. Capt gone and the VC ( Quade Cooper ) possibly not good enough to be promoted to Capt. The Capt must be the first person selected everytime - no doubts. Cooper spent large parts of 2013 International season on the bench. Just more indecision and poor management. 2014 season will be the same and us in NZ are gratetfully looking forward to watch the Wallabies again - good luck, you are going to need it. Wonder if 2014 will be another perfect season for the mighty AB's.

        Date and time
        January 12, 2014, 12:29PM
    • Its a bit anachronistic that he can't play for Australia if he's playing in Europe. When the Socceroos pick a team playing in Europe is considered an advantage. It's doubly odd when you consider that overseas born are qualified to play for Australia. Shouldn't we pick Australians to represent Australia? This rule needs to be reconsidered.

      Date and time
      January 09, 2014, 6:40PM
      • One more chink in the wall against selecting overseas based players...

        Date and time
        January 09, 2014, 8:17PM

        Make a comment

        You are logged in as [Logout]

        All information entered below may be published.

        Error: Please enter your screen name.

        Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

        Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

        Error: Please enter your comment.

        Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

        Post to

        You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

        Thank you

        Your comment has been submitted for approval.

        Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

        Related Coverage

        Super Rugby 2015

        Round 1
        Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
        CRU 10vs REB 20 Report Stats
        BRU 47vs RED 3 Stats
        Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
        LIO 8vs HUR 22 Report Stats
        BLU 18vs CHF 23 Report Stats
        Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
        SHA 29vs CHT 35 Report Stats
        BUL 17vs STO 29 Report Stats
        WAR 13vs FOR 25 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 2
        Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
        CHF 19vs BRU 17 Report Stats
        REB 28vs WAR 38 Report Stats
        Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
        BUL 13vs HUR 17 Report Stats
        HIG 20vs CRU 26 Report Stats
        RED 18vs FOR 6 Report Stats
        Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
        STO 27vs BLU 16 Report Stats
        SHA 29vs LIO 12 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 3
        Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
        HIG 20vs RED 13 Report Stats
        FOR 13vs HUR 42 Stats
        Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
        CHT 25vs BLU 24 Report Stats
        CHF 40vs CRU 16 Stats
        REB 15vs BRU 20 Report Stats
        Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
        BUL 43vs SHA 35 Report Stats
        LIO 19vs STO 22 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 4
        Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
        CHF 17vs HIG 20 Report Stats
        BRU 27vs FOR 15 Report Stats
        Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
        BLU 10vs LIO 13 Report Stats
        RED 5vs WAR 23 Report Stats
        Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
        CHT 20vs BUL 39 Report Stats
        STO 29vs SHA 13 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 5
        Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
        HUR 30vs BLU 23 Report Stats
        FOR 17vs REB 21 Report Stats
        Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
        CRU 34vs LIO 6 Report Stats
        HIG 26vs WAR 19 Report Stats
        RED 0vs BRU 29 Stats
        Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
        STO 19vs CHF 28 Report Stats
        CHT 10vs SHA 27 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 6
        Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
        HIG 13vs HUR 20 Report Stats
        REB 16vs LIO 20 Report Stats
        Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
        CRU 57vs CHT 14 Report Stats
        Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
        BUL 25vs FOR 24 Report Stats
        SHA 12vs CHF 11 Report Stats
        WAR 28vs BRU 13 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 7
        Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
        HUR 36vs REB 12 Report Stats
        RED 17vs LIO 18 Report Stats
        Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
        CHF 37vs CHT 27 Report Stats
        HIG 39vs STO 21 Report Stats
        WAR 23vs BLU 11 Report Stats
        Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
        SHA 15vs FOR 9 Report Stats
        BUL 31vs CRU 19 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 8
        Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
        HUR 25vs STO 20 Report Stats
        REB 23vs RED 15 Report Stats
        Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
        CHF 23vs BLU 16 Report Stats
        BRU 20vs CHT 3 Report Stats
        Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
        SHA 10vs CRU 52 Report Stats
        LIO 22vs BUL 18 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 9
        Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
        BLU 16vs BRU 14 Report Stats
        Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
        CRU 20vs HIG 25 Report Stats
        WAR 18vs STO 32 Report Stats
        FOR 15vs CHT 24 Report Stats
        Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
        LIO 23vs SHA 21 Report Stats
        BUL 43vs RED 22 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 10
        Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
        CRU 9vs CHF 26 Report Stats
        Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
        HUR 24vs WAR 29 Report Stats
        HIG 30vs BLU 24 Report Stats
        BRU 8vs REB 13 Report Stats
        FOR 6vs STO 13 Report Stats
        Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
        SHA 10vs BUL 17 Report Stats
        CHT 17vs RED 18 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 11
        Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
        CHF 35vs FOR 27 Report Stats
        BRU 31vs HIG 18 Report Stats
        Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
        CRU 29vs BLU 15 Report Stats
        WAR 18vs REB 16 Report Stats
        Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
        LIO 34vs CHT 29 Report Stats
        STO 15vs BUL 13 Report Stats
        RED 19vs HUR 35 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 12
        Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
        HIG 48vs SHA 15 Report Stats
        BRU 10vs WAR 13 Report Stats
        Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
        BLU 41vs FOR 24 Report Stats
        HUR 29vs CRU 23 Report Stats
        REB 16vs CHF 15 Report Stats
        Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
        CHT 25vs STO 17 Report Stats
        BUL 35vs LIO 33 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 13
        Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
        CRU 58vs RED 17 Report Stats
        REB 42vs BLU 22 Report Stats
        Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
        HUR 32vs SHA 24 Report Stats
        FOR 18vs WAR 11 Report Stats
        LIO 28vs HIG 23 Report Stats
        Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
        STO 25vs BRU 24 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 14
        Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
        BLU 23vs BUL 18 Report Stats
        RED 46vs REB 29 Report Stats
        Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
        HUR 22vs CHF 18 Report Stats
        WAR 33vs SHA 18 Report Stats
        Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
        LIO 20vs BRU 30 Report Stats
        CHT 24vs HIG 45 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 15
        Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
        CHF 34vs BUL 20 Report Stats
        RED 14vs SHA 21 Report Stats
        Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
        BLU 5vs HUR 29 Report Stats
        WAR 32vs CRU 22 Report Stats
        FOR 3vs HIG 23 Report Stats
        Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
        CHT 17vs LIO 40 Report Stats
        STO 31vs REB 15 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 16
        Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
        CRU 35vs HUR 18 Report Stats
        BRU 22vs BUL 16 Report Stats
        Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
        SHA 25vs REB 21 Report Stats
        HIG 36vs CHF 9 Report Stats
        FOR 10vs RED 32 Report Stats
        Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
        STO 42vs CHT 12 Report Stats
        LIO 27vs WAR 22 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 17
        Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
        HUR 56vs HIG 20 Report Stats
        FOR 20vs BRU 33 Report Stats
        Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
        REB 21vs BUL 20 Report Stats
        BLU 11vs CRU 34 Report Stats
        RED 3vs CHF 24 Report Stats
        CHT 33vs WAR 58 Report Stats
        Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
        STO 19vs LIO 19 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 18
        Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
        BLU 7vs HIG 44 Report Stats
        REB 11vs FOR 13 Report Stats
        Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
        BRU 24vs CRU 37 Report Stats
        CHF 13vs HUR 21 Report Stats
        WAR 31vs RED 5 Report Stats
        Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
        BUL 29vs CHT 42 Report Stats
        SHA 34vs STO 12 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Super Rugby Qualifying Finals
        Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
        HIG 24vs CHF 14 Report Stats
        Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
        STO 19vs BRU 39 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Super Rugby Semi Finals
        Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
        HUR 29vs BRU 9 Stats
        WAR 17vs HIG 35 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Super Rugby Grand Final
        Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
        HUR 14vs HIG 21 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Super Rugby 2015
        Overall standings
        Team P W L D +/- Pts
        Hurricanes 16 14 2 0 170 66
        Waratahs 16 11 5 0 96 52
        Stormers 16 10 5 1 50 45
        Highlanders 16 11 5 0 117 53
        Brumbies 16 9 7 0 108 47
        Lions 16 9 6 1 -22 42
        Chiefs 16 10 6 0 73 48
        Bulls 16 7 9 0 9 38
        View all

        Follow Us on Facebook

        Featured advertisers