ACT Brumbies captain Ben Mowen and wife Lauren are expecting their first child in four weeks. Photo: Colleen Petch
BEN MOWEN doesn't hesitate when asked what he would do if he had to choose between playing for his country or being at the birth of his first child next month - ''I'll 100 per cent be at the birth''.
But the twist in the potential dilemma for the ACT Brumbies captain comes from the most unlikely of places - wife Lauren.
After an outstanding Super Rugby campaign leading the young Brumbies to within a whisker of the finals, Mowen is in the Wallabies squad and will be in selection contention for the first Test on August 18.
The problem is Lauren's due date is August 21.
But unflustered by the prospect of a choice between ANZ Stadium or a maternity ward, Lauren has a simple message for her husband - ''Off you go.''
''This is where we get divided, you might think otherwise but I will 100 per cent be at the birth, I'm not going to miss it,'' Mowen said. ''But Lauren reckons if I get picked I should play … I guess we'll cross that bridge if we come to it.''
For now Mowen is leaving the decision in the hands of the rugby gods and hoping for a slice of luck.
If he needs advice, he can go to Berrick Barnes.
The Wallabies playmaker made a mad dash to Sydney for the birth of his first child on the eve of Australia's clash with Wales last month.
He returned to Melbourne hours before the game and it inspired him to a superb performance.
Mowen will be riding high on good vibes after his successful move to the Brumbies and preparing for an off-field change.
He will join the Wallabies at a training camp in Sydney this week before returning to Canberra to play for the Tuggeranong Vikings next weekend.
While the Brumbies' Super Rugby campaign ended eight days ago, Mowen's work was just beginning.
As devastated as Lauren was to watch the Brumbies bundled out of the title race, she already had a post-season plan for her husband.
''When Mad Monday was finished I put him to work in the yard,'' Lauren grins.
''He had a list of jobs to do which was two pages long … clean up the backyard, sort out the cupboards, get the nursery ready … we're turning this house into a home for us.
''And he's getting some home-cooked meals now.''
Just 18 months ago Mowen and his wife never thought they'd be having their first child in the capital.
They're both from Queensland, moved to Sydney together and - after spending most of the year apart while Lauren worked in the harbour city and Mowen played for the Brumbies - they're back together in Canberra.
''Oh yeah, this year has definitely been the most rewarding by far,'' Mowen said.
''I know what this team is capable of, there'll be a new baby in the house and we'll be busier and busier … and it might be a bit greedy but I want next year to be little better.''