Mumm reveals world cup bid behind Exeter exit

Exeter Chiefs club captain Dean Mumm has revealed his reasons for leaving the Devon Aviva Premiership Rugby club at the end of the season to return home.

The Australian international confirmed on Sunday night that he will be heading back home this summer to re-join former club the NSW Waratahs on a one-year deal – and with the aim of also trying to force his way into the Wallabies squad for this Autumn’s Rugby World Cup here in England.

Mumm has been a revelation at Sandy Park ever since he joined the Chiefs in 2012 and his actions, both on and off the field, have won him many admirers.

Not only has he been the spearhead of Exeter’s on-field push for honours, but last season he became the first man to lift a major trophy for the Devon club, when he lifted aloft the LV= Cup following a 15-8 victory over Northampton Saints.

Having accrued 63 appearances and 12 tries to date for the Chiefs, the 31-year-old forward will be looking to bow out on a high as Exeter chase success both in the Aviva Premiership and the European Challenge Cup in the coming weeks.

Indeed, the Auckland-born ace says his decision to confirm the news now was so that he could focus his attentions fully on what he believes will be an exciting climax to the current campaign for the ambitious Chiefs.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time here at Exeter, but I don’t want to be talking as if the time is complete when there is still so much to play for and get done between now and the end of the season,” said Mumm.

“Yes, I’m sorry to be leaving, but I’m only leaving to chase an opportunity that I didn’t think was otherwise present. When the time comes it will be sad to say my goodbyes, but in the meantime there is so much to focus on and so much to get excited about, both as players and supporters.”

Since arriving, Mumm – whose You Tube clip of him handing off Marcel Coetzee had Exeter supporters licking their lips in anticipation well before he docked into Devon – has been a revelation, even though the player himself didn’t know what to expect ahead of his big move.

“For sure it’s exceeded my expectations,” admitted Mumm. “The Chiefs really is a special place in terms of the mixture it has created between professionalism and amateurism.

“I think in my time here the club has grown enormously, not just in terms of the stands and the seating capacity, but in terms of what we are now looking at and where our ambitions lie. It’s a place – given the right circumstances – that in time will be a really strong and even more sustainable place to be.

“I think evidence of that is shown in some of the recent signings that we’ve made. There are players who have played in the UK for a long time, who are very experienced, very talented, but who now see Exeter as not only an option to play some excellent rugby with, but where they can ultimately enjoy their rugby as well.”

Mumm believes much of that is down to the culture that has been created within the camp – and says the ‘family feel’ of the place makes it’s a great environment for players to thrive in.

“When I first arrived here there wasn’t a huge amount of people from Exeter – and by that I mean there were people from different parts of England, as well as from others parts of the world,” he continued.

“And that in itself meant we created almost a family of our own, who were there for one another not just on the pitch, but off it as well. Here I’ve been able to create friendships that will be with me for life and I’ll never forget that.”

And it’s that friendship – and relentless banter – that Mumm believes has helped to drive the Chiefs forward as a club.

“Winning the LV= Cup was a great feeling as were a number of great victories we’ve had along the way,” added Mumm. “For me, though, it’s the little things, the ferocious banter and the relentlessness of it which makes this group. Personally, I love it and it’s certainly a lot different to changing rooms back home.

“But also the time you spend together on the bus journeys, it all adds to everything. In the Southern Hemisphere and Super Rugby you simply don’t do bus journeys, aside from the yearly trek from Sydney to Canberra, and most of the time you don’t enjoy that. Having this other element is completely different, but it really does help to gel a group of blokes together.”

But as Mumm was quick to stress, the opportunity of potentially rekindling an international career which to date has yielded 33 caps, was one of the key reasons in his decisions to head back Down Under.

“As a youngster the Waratahs was the club I always wanted to play for,” he said. “Thankfully I was lucky to do that on a great number of occasions and hopefully I’ll be lucky to do it again in the future. At the moment all that’s been created is an opportunity for me to play for the Waratahs and hopefully something more after that.

“It was something until recently I didn’t think would ever be possible, but the opportunity arose and it’s something I knew I had to do. That said, my focus here and now remains on the Chiefs and what I hope will be a very exciting end to the season for us.”

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