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Ben Mowen captains Australia at Twickenham

31 October 2013

  • Brumbies No 8 takes reins from James Horwill
  • Quade Cooper handed vice-captaincy
Ben Mowen takes a lineout

Photo: Getty Images

Ben Mowen will captain Australia against England at Twickenham on Saturday after James Horwill was told to focus on his own game.

Mowen skippered the Wallabies in their 14-13 victory over Argentina during the Rugby Championship and will lead the side out again in the opening QBE international.

Quade Cooper has been selected as vice-captain by head coach Ewen McKenzie, who has urged Horwill to rediscover his passion and aggression.

"There's no doubting James is a world-class leader but it's important he is putting his own personal performance first and playing to the level we know he is capable of on a weekly basis," said McKenzie.

"By his own lofty standards, James would admit he hasn't been at peak form. So, we've made the decision to this week remove the added pressures and responsibilities of being a captain so that he can focus entirely on bringing his 'A' game.

"Decisions like these are never easy, but sometimes you need to make hard choices for the long-term benefit of the individual. A strong individual performance will be the best contribution he can make to this game.

"Without the captaincy, Ben now gets another opportunity to lead his country, while we're recognising Quade for the ongoing decision-making role he plays on the field and the positive involvements he continues to make in contributing to the culture of the team off the field.

"However, like we do every week, we'll re-assess all selection decisions for next week's game against Italy after we focus on taking care of business against England on Saturday night."

Matt Toomua gets the nod at inside centre ahead of Christian Leali'ifano and wing Nick Cummins is back in action after recovering from a broken hand, while Scott Fardy comes in at blindside flanker after recovering from an eye problem.

Australia side to play England at Twickenham on November 2 England, live on Sky Sports 2 HD & 3D

15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Quade Cooper (vice-capatain), 9 Will Genia; 1 James Slipper, 2 Stephen Moore, 3 Ben Alexander, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 5 James Horwill, 6 Scott Fardy, 7 Michael Hooper, 8 Ben Mowen (captain).

Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Benn Robinson, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Kane Douglas, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Nic White, 22 Christian Lealiifano, 23 Bernard Foley.