New Brumbies assistant Ben Mowen had made clear the club's expectations for 2024: semi-finals aren't good enough anymore.
Mowen joins his former club as an assistant focused on defence, breakdown, and lineout, having made a successful start to his coaching career with Easts.
The backrower finished his playing career with a title in 2020 with the Tigers before taking over as head coach and was looking to bring similar success to the Brumbies.
“We’ve spoken a lot about the fact it’s been good here for a while but we want to make it great,” Mowen said to reporters. “There’s a higher level of expectations for us to be at a really good performance level earlier so that’s what we’ve been driving and they’re reacting well. “It’s about understanding what we’ve done previously hasn’t achieved the outcome we wanted. I think you can get caught in the trap of comparing where we are at the moment to last year…four (ladder position last year) is not a number we’re after, we want one and that’s a big gap to close. “We’re pushing the guys each day and really trying to make the training mentally tough so they adjust and they’re doing well so far.”
Mowen can sense the hunger to get better, with their Wallaby contingency already returning to training well before the Christmas break.
It comes after back-to-back semi-final defeats as the Brumbies look to break through and claim their first title in the Pacific competition.
“It’s the earliest we’ve ever had these (Wallabies) guys back, very unusual to have Wallaby players pre-Christmas,” he notes. “There’s an advantage there, we just got to make sure we turn it into one.”
Mowen started his career with the Reds and Waratahs but has always felt that connection with the nation's capital.
It made the decision to join Stephen Larkham's coaching team a no-brainer after the departure of Laurie Fisher.
“It does feel like home (in Canberra),” Mowen said. “I’m not from Canberra but it does feel like a big part of our lives. My daughter was born here, my greatest Rugby memories are here and so many great relationships with people that were established through those times so when the opportunity presented itself we were excited to come back.”