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.