Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Mowen: Aussies fired up for England

Australia's Ben Mowen says the Wallabies are fired up ahead of their meeting with Stuart Lancaster's (pictured) England team at Twickenham.

Australia captain Ben Mowen insists the prospect of facing England at Twickenham will galvanise a Wallabies team that has been eagerly awaiting the Cook Cup showdown.

The rivals may share the same pool at the 2015 World Cup but Mowen, who has replaced James Horwill as skipper, believes winning Saturday's QBE International is all that matters.

"Everyone in the squad has spoken over the last month about how great this game is going to be," the back row said.

"Twickenham is obviously a very special place and an Australia-England clash is a real stand-alone game.

"The fixture is obviously very important to both sides. It usually brings the best out of Australian players so we can't wait.

"This game is always only about winning. It's an extremely important match for both sides, as it always is.

"We are solely focused on making sure we get the performance right."

Mowen only made his Test debut in June when the British and Irish Lions toured Australia, but his impact has been such that head coach Ewen McKenzie views him as an influential figure.

The 28-year-old points out that his rise has been anything but meteoric.

"It's been quick getting the captaincy, but probably not quick in terms of my rugby career," he said.

"I've been around the traps for a long while, plying my trade, so year on year I've become a more experienced player and certainly a lot better in terms of performance.

"I'm hoping to continue that and I guess that's led me to this point today.

"This England vs Australia game has been a target of mine for many, many years now so to be here and be a part of such a special day will be very exciting."

England are the opening leg of Australia's Grand Slam tour and Mowen insists he is part of a harmonious squad driven to succeed.

"I'd say this is the most focused I've seen the side, this last couple of months, from my short time being involved," he said.

"It's very exciting for the group, it's a very happy group off the field.

"It always helps the direction of the side when you've got guys enjoying each other's company and we are working really hard on the field."

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