Wallabies captain Ben Mowen reveals his self-imposed booze ban

22 November 2013 5:46 PM

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Wallabies captain Ben Mowen reveals his self-imposed booze ban

The Wallabies are fielding a severely weakened side for the clash with Scotland, but the players have backed the in-house suspensions which have left them stretched thin for the test match.

WALLABIES captain Ben Mowen has revealed that he has been on a self-imposed alcohol ban for most of 2013, a year in which he's made his Test debut, taken the Brumbies to the Super Rugby final and risen to skipper the national side.

It is a telling revelation in the week of the Wallabies' booze scandal, and further ratification of coach Ewen McKenzie's decision to appoint him captain of the side three weeks ago despite just a handful of Tests.

"I can't mix alcohol and performance, I know that, I can't do it," Mowen said ahead of the Wallabies showdown with Scotland this weekend.

"I didn't drink for the first seven or eight months of this year, because I knew that for me, to get the best out of myself as a footballer, I can't do it.

"I know that because as a young bloke I did used to drink and think I could do it, and I can't.

"I just don't get results on the field, I don't play good footy when I'm drinking, so I just have to avoid it.

"I've been having drinks time to time, because in this environment I think it's good to connect with the guys.

"But I was on a self-imposed alcohol ban for the first half of the year, I didn't drink until after the Lions (series)."

McKenzie is hoping that some of his other squad members follow Mowen's lead.

Mowen was out with a group of players last Wednesday week in Dublin who went on to drink until 3.30am, resulting in the unparalleled standing down of six players for one game each and reprimands for nine others.

Asked if he'd told those players before he left to return to the team hotel early, Mowen replied: "I never will do that, because I treat blokes like men.

"I know there have been examples brought up around how Kiwis do things, but I think culturally as Australians we treat each other a certain way.

"And I know the way I like to relate to the guys, I just trust them to do the right thing. I'm not going to tell them to do the right thing, I just trust that they will.

"The reasons they stayed out, when you get down to it, was that they were enjoying each others' company. If you take the enjoying each others' company part of out it, that's a good sign. But doing that not in the context, that's the bad part.

"I know a lot has been said this week about not doing anything wrong publicly, I think that says a lot about the guys' mindset.

"It was not to disrespect anyone, it was more that they just got carried away."

Mowen believes while it has been a painful lesson to learn for the 15 players, McKenzie's stand will pay dividends in future.

"I know where we want to go as a side in terms of performance," Mowen said.

"What we need to acknowledge is that, until this point, everything we've done hasn't led to success.

"It's led to a lot of us getting here, but if we are dead serious about going from fourth in the world to No. 1 in the next two years, then we've got to do things that are well out of our comfort zone.

"We need to be winning a World Cup, we need to be the No. 1 side in the world, we need to be collecting trophies in the next two years to get us to that point.

"So the challenge is going to be getting guys right out of their comfort zone and establishing some pretty big behavioural change.

"I want to see guys enjoying themselves for the right reasons, with their teammates and doing the right thing, not being out and being gooses out on the town and carrying on, but just really being quite humble and enjoying each others' company.

"I see value in that, but the timing's not right. I 100 per cent agree with that, and I feel for those guys because you're on the end of the bluntness.

"But we can't have any grey in that, Link has made it very black and white about expectation.

"As tough as this period has been for us as a group, it going be something we reflect on, that whatever side is the make-up in two years' time and hopefully with the success, they'll say this was a really important stepping stone."

Source: news.com.au

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