Mowen ready to mow the Reds down
ACT Brumbies Super Rugby captain Ben Mowen. AAP Image/Julian Smith
While the Queensland Reds await the return of their on-field executives James Horwill and Will Genia from long-term injury, a super-fit Ben Mowen will begin his long overdue quest tonight for a regular Wallaby jumper.
The Brumbies skipper is all quality across the park, and his tilt with the Reds pack in their Super Rugby opener in Canberra could well dictate the outcome.
Mowen, one of the many Waratahs who have left over the years to improve their lot, has been an inspiration to the Brumbies since he took over the leadership last season. His combination with coach Jake White one of the best in the tournament.
It’s one of rugby’s great mysteries why Mowen has yet to win Wallaby recognition. This Lions season would be a cracker of a time to start.
There’s a lot to like about the Brumbies,
The signing of world-class openside flanker David Pocock is the icing on the cake, and with veteran Wallaby hooker Stephen Moore in tandem with Mowen will have the pack on fire.
Out the back the return from injury for Christian Lealiifano and Matt Toomua, and former Wallaby winger and Roar colleague Clyde Rathbone after a three-year break has a snappy look about it, especially when full-back Jesse Mogg chimes in.
The Reds will certainly miss lock Horwill and half Genia, with Adam Wallace-Harrison and Ben Lucas filling their spots. Lucas is an interesting selection at No 9 as he’s usually a full-back, but he has utility talents.
Despite missing Horwill, the Reds have a powerful pack led by new skipper James Slipper, Greg Holmes, Saia Fainga’a, Rob Simmons, and the tireless flanker Liam Gill.
Plenty of pace out the back as well, with Digby Ioane amd Dom Shipperley on the wings, Mike Harris at full-back, and vice-captain-centre Ben Tapuai who is looking for a big season.
All eyes will be on Quade Cooper, who reckons he’s a far better rugby player thanks to boxing.
“I’m tougher, both mentally and physically,” was how Cooper described his pro debut in the ring.
This clash promises plenty, especially as last night the Rebels and the Force proved they are not in the same league.
But the Reds and Brumbies are heavyweights, all set for an 80-minute shootout.
Bring it on.