Former Wallabies captain Ben Mowen says it's the right time to start a new life as a coach, rekindling his Australian rugby "buzz" five years after he shocked the world with a French defection.
The Canberra Times can reveal Mowen is making a comeback to the Rugby Australian inner sanctum, joining the junior Wallabies as the forwards coach.
Mowen, the ex-ACT Brumbies skipper, retired from professional rugby last year when he ended his stint in France and moved to Brisbane with his family.
It paved the way for Mowen to return to the Wallabies' brainstrust after a conversation with former Rugby Australia coaching director Rod Kafer two years ago planted a seed for a career shift.
Mowen quit the Wallabies' captaincy in 2014 despite being just 29 years old, putting family before country and sacrificing his hopes of playing at a World Cup by moving to France.
Now 34, Mowen says he's ready to start the next phase of his career and he wants to help usher in a new generation of Wallabies stars.
"It's gone full circle being back in Canberra this week," Mowen said.
"Any time you get to be involved with a national side is special, and I still got that little buzz when I put the green and gold on, even though it was for coaching this time.
"It's great, I think there are some exciting times for Australian rugby ahead.
"I started talking to Rod Kafer two years ago about my ambition to be involved and what personal development I should be doing. It progressed from there ... and I was lucky the timing all lined up perfectly."
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Mowen is with the junior Wallabies for a camp at the AIS camp, joining head coach Jason Gilmore's staff as the under-20s side aims to win the junior world title this year.
It's a homecoming for the back-rower, who led the Brumbies to the Super Rugby final in 2013 and played 98 games before his surprise decision to move abroad just months after taking on the Test captaincy duties.
Many thought he would be lost to Australian rugby forever given he didn't qualify for "Giteau Law" selection, which was introduced less than a year after his departure.
But after 96 Top 14 games for Montpellier and Pau, Mowen decided to finish his playing career and to test himself as a coach.
"It's all still pretty fresh," Mowen said. "I wanted to step straight into coaching while my thinking was fresh.
"It's something I've been thinking about for a few seasons. If I felt I needed a break, then great. But I'm a rugby tragic, so jumping straight into it was appealing to me.
"It definitely does [feel like home]. You can make a big impact on guys at this age, and it's an exciting time for the program after the success they had last year."
He hopes his experience in forwards-dominated French rugby will help him as a coach by blending two different styles together.
"You can't run before you walk, you need the foundations down first. It's important to try to get Australia in a position to win their first under-20s World Cup," he said.
"This is definitely my future ambition. I love being involved in a team and I like the idea of working with guys to improve them.
"My job is to allow guys to achieve a dream. If I can help them in anyway, that's rewarding. To be doing that in a rugby environment is perfect for me."
Mowen said he knew it was time to retire when he was more interested in the art of coaching than his own development.
"My body was fine and I loved playing, but the timing was right for us to come back to Australia.
"It's better to finish a year or two early than a year too late.
"And my thinking had evolved ... I was more interested in strategy and training principles rather than improving myself. That was a good time for me to transition into a new role."