IT CAME a week late, but ACT Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen said he felt like he'd won the lottery when he received an unexpected call up to the Wallabies yesterday.
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans revived Mowen's Test dream when he added the versatile back-rower to his squad to replace the injured Ben McCalman.
Mowen was a shock omission from Deans's original 39-man squad.
Despite being one of the Brumbies' most consistent players and leading the club's new generation to the top of the ladder, Mowen's Wallabies hopes were crushed when he was overlooked.
But after helping the Brumbies to a gritty victory over the Melbourne Rebels on Friday night, Deans gave Mowen the reward most believe he deserved a week ago.
He now faces the prospect of making a surprise Test debut against Scotland in Newcastle on Tuesday.
''It's definitely unexpected, it's the feeling like you don't care how you win the lotto, as long as you win it,'' a beaming Mowen said.
''It's an opportunity and I really want to try to develop that into a chance to represent Australia.
''I feel really good about the way I've played this year and thing I've enjoyed is that I feel like I'm getting better and better.
''All I heard from Robbie was join the camp and then I couldn't stop smiling, I could play this morning if needed.''
Deans was in Melbourne to watch the Brumbies take on the Rebels and edge closer to a Super Rugby finals berth.
The Brumbies had eight players selected in Deans's initial squad, but Jesse Mogg was cut yesterday as the squad was trimmed down for Tuesday's clash with Scotland.
Deans delivered the news to Mowen at the team hotel and the 27-year-old will begin his Wallabies bid today with his seven remaining Brumbies teammates.
It's taken Mowen six years to get back to the top of Australian rugby.
He was captain of the Australian under-21s side in 2005 but could not force his way into the senior squad.
Mowen joined the Brumbies at the start of the season and he has arguably been the best recruit of any Australian team.
He's led Jake White's young squad to an unexpected rise and he's itching for a chance to take his game to the next level.
The initial disappointment of being omitted has now been overtaken by pride and passion for the Wallabies jersey.
''It's never easy to make the national squad, I've always been of the belief it should be bloody difficult to get in there,'' Mowen said.
''You're disappointed [if you miss selection] because you want to play for Australia, but I'm a big believer in not ruling anything out … my mum always tells me there's two full glasses.
''At the moment I've got an opportunity and I'm extremely proud to get that.
''But it's just an opportunity, now it's about trying to convert that into representation.''
Nic White is a good chance to earn his first Test cap from the bench as Will Genia's scrumhalf back-up.
Michael Hooper, Joseph Tomane and Dan Palmer are also in contention to win a place for their Test debut.
Hopetoun Cup: Australia v Scotland at Hunter Stadium, Newcastle, 7.30pm. TV Time: Live on Fox Sports 3 from 7pm.