Ben Mowen might be playing his junior squad members on Saturday night, but that won’t stop him from taking it easy.
Brumbies captain Ben Mowen has warned his junior squad members in the ACT XV not to expect any favours when the two sides clash at Canberra’s Viking Park on Saturday night.
Several players who took on the Highlanders as part of the senior squad last weekend will now find themselves part of the Brumbies’ opposition.
But with this trial the only official warm-up match for eight Brumbies players in last year’s Wallabies squad, Mowen is taking a no-prisoners approach to ensure his side face the Queensland Reds with some momentum for their season opener on February 22.
“We know it will be very physical early on,” Mowen said.
“You’ve got to remember those guys are playing for an opportunity, so that’s going to add a lot to their motivation levels.”
The majority of the ACT XV squad has trained with the Brumbies for the last six months.
Two props going head-to-head that were teammates just a week ago are brothers Ruan Smith (Brumbies reserve) and JP Smith (ACT XV loosehead).
Josh Mann-Rea (hooker), Allan Alaalatoa (tighthead), Tom Staniforth (lock), Michael Smith (openside), Conrad Hoffman (halfback) and Matt Hawke (centre) are the other ACT XV players who toured with the Brumbies in New Zealand last week.
They’ve found themselves squeezed out of the side with return of Wallabies stars Mowen, Jesse Mogg, Joe Tomane, Matt Toomua, Nic White, Scott Fardy, Ben Alexander and Stephen Moore.
“We had good representation in that Wallabies team in the Spring Tour, so there’s a lot of combinations that have played through that second half of the year,” Mowen said.
“Hopefully that continues into Saturday.”
The game will also be Wallabies star David Pocock’s second match back from last year’s season-ending knee injury.