Johannesburg - The Brumbies will have a new captain when they attempt to end
their South African tour on a high as Ben Mowen continues to battle a
persistent neck injury.
Mowen has failed to train with the team for the past two
days in the lead-up to the clash with the Johannesburg Lions on Friday.
He suffered a neck injury for the second week in a row in
the Brumbies' loss to the Pretoria Bulls last weekend and it is likely
they will not risk further problems by playing him against the Lions.
Brumbies coach Jake White will name his team on Thursday and vice-captain Stephen Moore is expected to be given the captaincy
duties with the regular skipper on the sideline.
Mowen has had a disrupted trip to South Africa. He
battled a stomach bug last week and left the field just after half-time
against the Bulls.
With Mowen out, someone in the forward pack will need to step up and take his job of calling the lineout plays.
White believes the Brumbies sent a statement to the
competition when they went within two points of toppling the Bulls at
The Brumbies put a massive emphasis on getting their two-week tour off to a good start.
Now their challenge is to ensure they play with the same
intensity at Ellis Park and shut the lowly-ranked Lions – who have won
just one game this year – out of the contest.
White was confident his team would not suffer from the growing hype around the Brumbies.
At the start of the season few expected them to be a finals contender.
But after nine weeks of action, they sit at the top of the Australian conference.
"Every week the pressure on this group is different," White said.
"Some weeks there's pressure to play against guys and compete for Wallabies jerseys and last week it was playing at Loftus.
"This week the pressure is playing against a team people expect you to beat.
"But the message we are keeping with is that it doesn't matter what other people think, as a group we know what we have to do.
"Whatever happened last week is irrelevant, just because
we scored five tries last week doesn't mean it's going to happen again
The Brumbies have made massive improvements after their horror season last year.
If they beat the Lions in Johannesburg, they will eclipse the number of wins they had last season after just 10 weeks.
Vice-captain Pat McCabe said there was a new attitude in the group.
And after collecting two bonus points against the Bulls,
McCabe said the Brumbies would leave South Africa content if they could
beat the Lions.
"There's definitely a different feeling, there were times
last year where you felt like it was a burden and you were going
through the motions and it became incredibly draining," McCabe said.
"Even in the games we've lost this year it's clear that if we had done things better we could have won.
"At times last year it felt like we weren't even in certain games.
"The Lions will be tough, but if we can get seven points out of South Africa it will be a good tour."