Ben Mowen, the in form Brumbies captain, has been left out of the Wallabies squad for the upcoming Test matches. Deans’ decision could have consequences for the Wallabies as Mowen has the potential to be the missing link for the Wallabies forward pack.
With the selected players, I believe the best forward pack would be:
1. Dan Palmer
2. Stephen Moore
3. Sekope Kepu
4. Rob Simmons
5. Kane Douglas
6. Dave Dennis
7. David Pocock
8. Scott Higginbotham
16. Tatafu Polota-Nau
17. Ben Alexander
18. Hugh Pile
19. Michael Hooper
Although this forward pack looks ominous, I still believe the forward pack would be complete and much more well rounded with the inclusion of Ben Mowen at number eight.
I will concede that Scott Higginbotham has played tremendously well this season at number eight, however I still believe he is one of the best blindside flankers in the world. Also contributing to Higginbotham staying at eight has been the form of Dennis.
Dennis has been the shining light in a season of bleak fortune for the Waratahs, and he deserves recognition for his efforts.
But what Mowen provides is further leadership in a relatively young forward pack. Jake White, the Brumbies saviour as new coach this season has recognised Mowen’s ability and also believes that he warrants selection for the Wallabies.
Mowen also provides that stability. He is the rock at the back of the scrum and with his simple, but effective style of play, it allows Higginbotham to play his flamboyant wide running and chip kicking style of play that he is so good at.
Many experts like Greg Martin and Rod Kafer believe that Mowen is simply a Super Rugby player and will not be able to cut it in Test match rugby. I believe it is completely the opposite.
Mowen has played extremely well in Super Rugby, but I think he will be even better in Test match rugby. Super Rugby is fast paced, somewhat unstructured and much looser than Test matches, and therefore I believe Test matches actually suit Mowen much better, with the slower, more structured and set piece orientated game play.
He is a simpler player; he sticks to the basics, but does them well. His steady hand would provide solidity for the forward pack and he would be able to provide, consistently, enabling a more well rounded performance for a pack that must be able to step up if they are to compete against the Welsh in the coming weeks.
Although I can understand the majority of selections that have been made, and I am actually relatively happy with prospects for the Wallabies this season. I simply do not understand Mowen not being selected, even in the squad. Deans has been a believer of giving players a go, and seeing what they can make out of their opportunity.
To this end, I thought Ben Mowen should have been given a go to see what he can do, and if he can indeed make the cut at Test match level.