Mumm hails Chiefs spirit
Pictures: Exeter Rugby Club/Pinnacle Photo Agency
By Mark Stevens
Australian international Dean Mumm believes the strong "spirit and belief" that exists within the Exeter Chiefs squad will be a key factor as the Devon club look to seal their place in the top six of this season's Aviva Premiership.
Having secured their spot in the Heineken Cup with victory at Worcester Warriors last season, the 29-year-old forward is hoping his side's latest 24-18 success at Sixways can prove crucial in their quest to feature amongst Europe's elite again next term.
With just two minutes remaining on Saturday, Mumm picked the perfect moment to claim his maiden score for the Chiefs, as he crossed from close range for the all-important, match-winning score, which was converted by club-mate Gareth Steenson.
Mumm's late touchdown sealed Exeter's third top flight win in four games and puts them firmly in reckoning - alongside the likes of Gloucester, Bath and London Wasps - for a top six finish.
"It's a good feeling," said the former Waratahs star at the final whistle. "Away wins are always pretty special and something to treasure. It's not often you come to a formidable environment like this and get a win.
"Obviously I'm pleased to have got my try, albeit from a metre out, but for us it's an important try in the context of the season. To come away from home and get the four points keeps us nicely on track for the top six."
Recruited by Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter last summer, Mumm has wasted little time in settling into life both at Sandy Park and in the Premiership. An instant hit both on and off the field in Devon, the 33-cap Wallabies star says he has been pleasantly impressed by the standard of competition he has faced since jetting in from Sydney, as well as the displays produced by his new team-mates.
"I've been here six months now, but it took me maybe one or two weeks to see that the spirit and the belief within this team are very strong," said Mumm. "You can also see the club is also very ambitious to go places, not just in the Premiership, but Europe as well. It's certainly nice place to be and you know when momentum changes in games - like it did today - that spirit will be there come the end."
Having led 17-6 early in the second half, quickfire tries from Worcester's Matt Kvesic and Josh Drauniniu hauled the Midlanders back in front, before Mumm's converted score in the dying minutes sealed a memorable scalp for the visitors.
It was - according to Mumm - a decisive victory, but he knows the Chiefs can ill afford to let their standards slip in the remaining three games of the season. He added: "It was a pretty good, 60-minute performance, but we were not so good for 20 minutes there after the break. Full credit to Worcester for coming back into the game, they played well and got some good momentum to score two good tries.
"Like I said, it was a good 60 minutes for us, but we know we have to be stronger for the whole game. We'll take the win, simply because this is a tough place to come and get a result, and it keeps things in our hands. Right now every point is crucial in the grand scheme of things, so we'll enjoy our break now and take this result into the next game."
Next up for the Chiefs will be their home encounter against London Irish at Sandy Park on Saturday, April 13 (3pm) where another bumper crowd is expected to be in attendance.
Not that Saturday felt like an away game for the Chiefs, who were given rousing support from the sidelines by an excellent turnout from the travelling Tribe.
Mumm continued: "I think there are a few people enjoying Easter, but luckily the Chiefs fans that came up and were able to help us through the game, now have something to celebrate on the way home. The next few weeks are very important for us, but we will take each game as it comes, and enjoy the win."