Mowen to pursue French opportunity
Current Australia captain Ben Mowen will not represent his country at the next Rugby World Cup after deciding to pursue a career in French rugby from the end of 2014.
The 29-year-old Brumbies flanker has played in 15 Tests for Australia and replaced James Horwill as Wallabies skipper in October.
He will not, however, be eligible to take part when Australia attempt to win the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England after choosing to move to France for family reasons.
Mowen told rugby.com.au: "I have loved the opportunity to play for the Wallabies and I have been fortunate to play alongside and be mentored by many incredible players, coaches and other members of the Australian Rugby community during my career.
"While my desire to play for Australia is still extremely strong, my priority is to spend more time with my wife and our daughter.
"I would have loved my career to have lined up to help Australia win the next Rugby World Cup, but my priority at this stage in my life is my family.
"I will be cheering hard from a distance - we have the squad and coaching staff to achieve a Rugby World Cup win in 2015 and I wish them all the very best.
"I'm extremely grateful for the opportunities I have had throughout my career, but in the meantime, my focus will be on ensuring the Brumbies win the 2014 Super Rugby competition."
Mowen did not confirm the existence of any arrangement with a French club but Australian Rugby Union chief executive Bill Pulver said the flanker would be missed when he moves to Europe.
"Ben has been an outstanding contributor to Australian Rugby and role model since he made his Super Rugby debut in 2006," he said.
"Rugby is an international business and while we're disappointed to know Ben will be heading to France in 2015, we respect his decision.
"On behalf of the Australian Rugby community, I want to thank him for his significant contribution and wish him all the best for the future on and off the field."