Ben Mowen has re-signed with the Brumbies for two more years. 15 February 2012, sport, story by Chris Dutton, Canberra Times photo by STUART WALMSLEY. ACT Brumbies captain Ben Mowen.
A desire to lead the ACT Brumbies to a title and ”having a proper crack” at his Wallabies dream has convinced Ben Mowen to re-sign with the Super Rugby club for another two years.
Mowen, who will retain the Brumbies captaincy next season, has turned down lucrative offers from Japanese and French clubs to re-commit to the Brumbies and Australian rugby until the 2015 World Cup.
The 28-year-old and Wallabies captain David Pocock are keen to emulate the successful partnership of Stirling Mortlock and George Gregan during the Brumbies’ golden era.
Western Force recruit Pocock will be one of three vice-captains unveiled on Thursday. This will echo the structure when Gregan was Australia’s captain and Mortlock led the Brumbies.
Mowen admitted he came close to heading overseas. Fairfax Media understands he could have earned three times as much in Japan.
But he said unfinished business with the Brumbies and a steely determination to win Wallabies selection were the deciding factors.
”I’ve just accepted terms and the papers are going through now – it’s all good to go,” Mowen said on Wednesday. ”When it came down to it my mind’s not in the area yet where I could walk away from Australian rugby and say I’ve given it everything.
”I did attract quite a bit of interest. The hardest decision for me was I’m at that point now where I’m 28 and not internationally capped yet … you’re at the turning point of do you go overseas, or do you stay?
”I don’t think I could be an old digger looking back on my footy career, knowing I had a couple of years where I didn’t stay and have a crack [at the Wallabies].”
With his future now settled, Mowen declared he was undaunted by retaining the captain’s armband with Pocock in the team.
”It was something myself and Jake [White, Brumbies coach] discussed when we signed ‘Poey’ [Pocock], actually,” Mowen said. ”Jake said, ‘this is the direction I see things evolving’. It’s worked once for the Brumbies with Mortlock-Gregan, and that’s the way he sees it working here.
”The captaincy should always go to the guy who’s going to enhance the team performance, and if that was going to be Poey in Jake’s mind then that would be fine.
”I’d be crazy not to ask Dave questions, and that’s a big part of my captaincy. I don’t want it to be just my point of view and want everyone to buy in.”
Mowen was outstanding for the Brumbies last year in his first season at the club, taking the responsibility of guiding a young but exciting playing group in his stride. His form brought him agonisingly close to winning a Wallabies jumper, and he believes his best football remains ahead of him.
”I’m playing better footy year-in, year-out. I know I’ve got a lot more good footy to go and I don’t want to waste that in another competition. The fortunate thing for me was I had a fair few injuries early in my career, so although I’m 28 I feel I’m only 24 or 25 in terms of my development,” he said.
Mowen insisted the Brumbies were capable of winning the Super Rugby title, but said their title tilt could hinge on improving their ”killer instinct” from last year.
The Brumbies were shocked by struggling Auckland at home in the final round, needing only a win to confirm a finals spot.
”The guys who were involved in that game certainly haven’t forgotten about it. It’s reminded us we can’t relax because if we do, we lose that opportunity. We were an extremely talented side, but we were probably lacking a bit of experience in those big moments,” he said.
”This year’s about making sure we convert those chances every time.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.