ABOUT THE FUTURE: Wallabies and Brumbies captain Ben Mowen announces that he will quit Australian rugby at the end of the 2014 season.
ABOUT THE FUTURE: Wallabies and Brumbies captain Ben Mowen announces that he will quit Australian rugby at the end of the 2014 season. David Barbeler

Dave Arthur talks: Putting family first

THERE was an interesting announcement this week with the current Wallaby captain effectively resigning his position as he declared himself unavailable for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Many of us would give various parts of our anatomy to represent our country in whatever sport. I remember well a Kerry Packer interview with Ray Martin where the big man was relating the desire that many of us possess but by dint of summary lack of talent mostly never realise:

Ray Martin: Is it true you would give anything to play sport for Australia?

Kerry Packer: Anything.

Martin: What sport?

Packer: Any sport - Marbles!

How can it be then, that a relatively young man (Mowen is 29) who has only recently scaled the rugby equivalent of Everest (he has played 14 Tests) now wants to spend more time with his family and pursue some potential opportunities in France? Mowen's a tough hombre for sure - he had a far from meteoric rise to the higher echelons of the sport.

In three long seasons at the Queensland Reds he only secured a single S15 appearance before he moved to the Waratahs where he hardly set the world alight in making 40 appearances in 4 seasons.

And thence to Canberra where he came under the tutelage of South African World Cup winning coach Jake White.

He was made captain before putting on his first Brumby guernsey and then came his Wallaby debut against the British and Irish Lions.

With such a chequered climb to the summit some would question why he is, in the words of Phil Collins, throwing it all away!

Is it a case of the Wallabies not suiting this erudite and articulate young man (hardly)?

Has his passion to play for Australia diminished (I doubt it)?

Was the money on offer not quite up to the mark (maybe)?

Or could it be a simple case of him wanting to give back to his family?

A family who had shared his dreams and given their unquestioned and unwavering support.

A family that passed, certainly in the latter part of his career like ships in the night.

A stint in France will give him all this and more. The inexorable, time shifting travel from South Africa to Argentina will be no more.

And yes he will be paid handsomely for the experience (certainly more than his current salary) and get to live in a cosmopolitan country of note.

Whatever his reasoning there's surely not too many who wish ill of a man who strove to do the right thing throughout his career and who achieved what many of us can only dream.



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