Australian rugby
Mowen considering France move over pay dispute
ESPN Staff
September 30, 2013
The Brumbies' Ben Mowen and Jake White reflect on their win in Pretoria, Bulls v Brumbies, Super Rugby, Super Rugby semi-final, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, July 27, 2013
Ben Mowen (l) led the Brumbies to the Super Rugby grand final earlier this year © Getty Images

Wallabies backrower Ben Mowen is reportedly considering leaving Australian rugby over a pay dispute with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU).

According to the The Daily Telegraph Mowen, who captained the Wallabies just three weeks ago, could opt for a potentially lucrative deal in France if decides to walk. His loss would be a big blow to Super Rugby franchise the Brumbies, who also lost coach Jake White last week.

Mowen is said to be unhappy over the cash-strapped ARU's reluctance to make top-up payments to him as a regular starter for the Wallabies. The backrower had signed with the Canberra-based side on the understanding that he also receives an ARU top up to his contract.

However the ARU have introduced a policy which only allows players to be paid the additional funds if they have played for the Wallabies for more than two years, meaning Mowen would have to wait until 2015 for a top-up to his salary.

Players are reportedly frustrated that the ARU has made concessions for code converts such as Israel Folau, who was handed a top-up to reject league and play rugby after he left the AFL, and was given a significant upgrade when he renegotiated his contract in late August, having played just five Tests.

Mowen told The Telegraph he had no deal with the ARU but referred the matter to his manager David Shand.

"He signed with the Brumbies, who have been good, now we're trying to get the ARU part of the deal done," Shand said.

Asked if Mowen has been approached by European clubs, Shand replied: "Of course, for the player the calibre of Ben who has captained his country".

Mowen became Australia's 80th Test captain when he led the Wallabies to a 14-13 win over Argentina on September 14 but is not among the side's highest earners. The ARU believes that most Test players and aptly compensated by match payments, which are set at $14,000 per Test.

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