David Pocock Photo: Getty Images
ACT Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen expects superstar David Pocock to arrive in Canberra with ambitions to be a future captain at the club, and will welcome any challenge to his leadership.
Brumbies coach Jake White yesterday indicated Mowen would most likely remain as Brumbies captain next year despite luring Pocock, the current Wallabies stand-in skipper, to Canberra on a three-year deal.
White, who described Pocock as the biggest signing in Brumbies history, said the world-regarded flanker could even develop into a better player at the Brumbies.
Mowen is keen to lead the Brumbies again after narrowly missing the Super Rugby finals in his first season at the helm.
But he said the addition of Pocock should be viewed as a positive challenge by everyone - including himself.
Mowen was part of the Wallabies squad led by Pocock during the June international period and said he would have no hesitation stepping aside if it was in the best interests of the Brumbies' squad.
''[Captaincy] is not a right, it's definitely a responsibility and one you're fortunate to get. If Jake taps me on the shoulder at the start of the next year and says I think Poey's the person to lead us forward then I'm seriously fine with that,'' Mowen said.
''I want to be in an environment where we're constantly challenging each other and I would expect that David arrives with ambitions to be the captain one day, whether that's next year or the year after … I want him pushing for that role, pushing for the leadership and pushing us forward.
''It's the only way we're going to get the best out of each other.''
White is sticking by Mowen, who performed admirably in the role this year. White said Pocock's added experience was more beneficial to the ''baby'' Brumbies than who was captain.
''I think one of the things the Brumbies have taught the rugby world is that you can have more than one captain,'' White said.
''They've been very successful in how they've managed some of the great captains … If you consider guys like Matt Giteau, Stirling Mortlock and George Gregan all captained both the Brumbies and Australia, and at one stage George was captain of the Wallabies and Stirling was captain of the Brumbies - it was a very successful time for the Brumbies as well.
''Egos are not important … the reality is we have two new guys in leadership roles pushing each other and helping each other.''
White said Pocock's signing was a sign of faith in the revived Brumbies program. He said Pocock would add a dimension to the Brumbies' game, but said the club also owed it to Pocock to make him better.
''I really think the Brumby brand and the way we play is going to help him as well in parts of his game that he probably hasn't been lucky enough to do in teams he's played with previously before,'' White said.
''I'm excited what he can bring to our team but I'm just as excited about what we can add to his game from an individual point of view.''
White will now turn his focus to filling the final two spots on his roster - most likely a lock and centre.
Although Pocock's arrival is sure to increase expectation, Mowen said the squad had to maintain the same work ethic it had displayed in 2012.
''Having one outstanding player doesn't make you a title-challenging team, it takes the rest of the squad to put you in that position,'' he said.