Mowen ready to rise from sick bed to halt Bulls' stampede
Ben Mowen trains for the Brumbies in South Africa yesterday. Photo: Chris Dutton
The ACT Brumbies are confident skipper Ben Mowen will be fit to take on the Pretoria Bulls on Sunday morning despite being bed-ridden on Wednesday in South Africa.
Mowen trained with his teammates for the first time last night and has been trying to shake a stomach bug to ensure he can lead the Brumbies onto Loftus Versfeld.
Despite his illness, Mowen missed just one field session with the team and vice-captain Pat McCabe said his early-week absence would not disrupt the team's preparation.
His recovery is a timely boost for the Brumbies as they attempt to end a seven-game international losing streak.
Mowen says he has ''got the bug out of my system'' and he's ready to play is 50th Super Rugby match after getting through last night's session unscathed.
The Bulls are the most dangerous attacking team in the competition and McCabe said the Brumbies need to ''impose' their own attacking flair.
The Brumbies scored four tries in the first half against the Melbourne Rebels last weekend and showed their attacking potential.
''We all know the Bulls are formidable and we know if we do our things well we can score tries,'' McCabe said. ''We have to combat the things they do extremely well and be clear about what we want to do off the back of that. But we can't be afraid of imposing our own game on them, if we let them dictate terms then they're going to win.''
The Brumbies arrived in Pretoria this morning after spending the first three days of their tour in Rustenburg to help them acclimatise.
The club hasn't won at the Bulls' home ground since 2006 and even the squad's most experienced players have tasted limited success in Pretoria.
While he boasts 91 Super Rugby and 65 Test caps, Wallabies rake Stephen Moore is still searching for his first triumph at one of the most feared venues in the competition.
He was part of the Queensland Reds team in 2007 which copped a brutal 92-3 shellacking by the three-time champion Bulls.
The Bulls tore the young Reds, including Will Genia and Quade Cooper, to shreds and the Queensland side crumbled.
Jake White's young Brumbies squad has played just one game abroad and half of the touring party is on its first trip to South Africa.
But Moore hoped youthful exuberance and a strict game plan would help the Brumbies topple the Bulls.
The Brumbies are at the top of the Australian conference, but need to win to ensure they keep their place.
''This is going to be a fantastic experience for our guys and you've got to look at it in a positive light,'' Moore said.
''It's going to be a big test for us, but if we want to be around the top end of the competition, these are the games you need to be competitive in.
''We've got a good plan and we have to execute it to beat them, but there's no reason why we can't do that.''
Super Rugby round nine: Pretoria Bulls v ACT Brumbies at Loftus Versfeld, 3.10am.
TV time: Live on Fox Sports 3.