Australian Rugby Union today announced current Qantas Wallabies Captain, back rower Ben Mowen, will pursue his Rugby career in France at the end of 2014.
Mowen said the decision is based on personal and family considerations.
“I have loved the opportunity to play for the Qantas Wallabies and I have been fortunate to play alongside and be mentored by many incredible players, coaches and other members of the Australian Rugby community during my career,” Mowen said.
“While my desire to play for Australia is still extremely strong, my priority is to spend more time with my wife and our daughter.
“I would have loved my career to have lined up to help Australia win the next Rugby World Cup, but my priority at this stage in my life is my family. I will be cheering hard from a distance – we have the squad and coaching staff to achieve a Rugby World Cup win in 2015 and I wish them all the very best.
“I‘m extremely grateful for the opportunities I have had throughout my career, but in the meantime, my focus will be on ensuring the Brumbies win the 2014 Super Rugby competition.”
Mowen has played 15 Tests for Australia after making his international debut in June 2013 against the British & Irish Lions.
The 29-year-old was appointed Captain during last season’s Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship when he led Australia to a one-point victory over Argentina in Perth. He was also Captain for the recent Spring Tour, overseeing victories in four of the five matches played.
Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver said Mowen will be missed.
“Ben has been an outstanding contributor to Australian Rugby and role model since he made his Super Rugby debut in 2006,” Mr Pulver said.
“Rugby is an international business and while we’re disappointed to know Ben will be heading to France in 2015, we respect his decision.
“On behalf of the Australian Rugby community, I want to thank him for his significant contribution and wish him all the best for the future on and off the field.”
Qantas Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie said the decision means Mowen won’t be eligible for national selection in 2015, but the door will remain open for him if he wants to return to Australia.
“I’ve known Ben throughout his career and I’ve enjoyed watching him reach the pinnacle of our sport by representing Australia and leading the national team as Captain.
“He has been in touch with me regularly throughout his decision-making process and he has approached this decision in his usual style – with professionalism and diligence.
“It’s obviously disappointing to lose a player of Ben’s calibre, but after speaking to him about his personal priorities, we appreciate that he is making this decision based on what is the right for him personally and professionally.
“I wish him every success and he knows he is always welcome in Australian Rugby in the future.”
Mowen will remain Captain of the Brumbies for the upcoming Super Rugby season.
Ben Mowen will be available for comment at a media conference in Canberra today:
Who: UC Brumbies Captain Ben Mowen and Director of Rugby Laurie Fisher
Where: University of Canberra Training Field (between gymnasium and Zierholz Bar)
When: 10:20am, Thursday 9 January 2014 (vision at 10:20am, interviews at 10:40am)