Dean Mumm calls for big performance from Exeter Chiefs
Exeter Chiefs skipper Dean Mumm knows his side will have to be at their best when they tackle the huge challenge of defending Premiership champions Leicester Tigers at Sandy Park on Sunday.
The Devon men have won two out of their opening three games of the season, but have done so without firing on all cylinders.
They turned in another pretty unconvincing performance for large parts of last Saturday’s match at London Irish, but still came away with a 29-23 win after a superb rally in the final quarter, when they scored 17 unanswered points.
However, they will have to step up several gears to tackle a Tigers’ side packed full of internationals, including British and Irish Lions stars Ben Youngs, Dan Cole, Geoff Parling, Tom Youngs and Manu Tuilagi, and England fly-half Toby Flood.
“Leicester are a massive side, they are defending champions and deservedly so, and are renowned for being a strong set-piece team, so we have got a lot to look at,” admitted Mumm after the hard-fought victory at the Madejski Stadium.
“We have got an eight-day turnaround between matches, so we get an extra day of recovery, which is important, and we will assess what we need to do. A lot of it is about simplifying what we do and make sure we do the basics really well.
“I think it is important throughout the season to win games when you don’t necessarily play as good as you can, and I think that was probably the case again on Saturday.
“Once more, away from home, we were a little bit slow in the first half, and left ourselves a deficit to make up, but this time we were luckily good enough to come back and win the game.”
The former Australian international lock, who took over as Chiefs captain from Tommy Hayes during the summer, admitted, though, there is still plenty for the players to work on.
“I think we give them a bit of heartache in the coaching box, because it is obvious we are capable of playing well, when we just simplify things most of the time and just do the stuff that we are meant to do, and carry hard, and win our clean-outs well,” Mumm said.
“That gives us quick ball, and we can be dangerous when we have good quality ball, so that has obviously got to be a focus for us going forward, but again it is important to get the win and keep marching on.
“We followed up the Wasps victory with a win, and when you do that you start to get some nice momentum, and it is good to get that early in the competition.”
Exeter began the game well at Reading to take a 9-3 lead, but then found themselves trailing 10-9 at the break.
After the sin-binning of wing Tom James, they slipped even further behind at 23-12, before they made the most of Irish losing prop John Yapp to a yellow card to hit back and win, with Mumm scoring one of his side’s two tries to register his second touchdown in three games this season.
“In most games there is a shift in terms of momentum. We started reasonably well and had the momentum, and we didn’t get any tries out of it, but we did get penalties in the right area of the field so we could accrue a few points,” he explained.
“At 10-9 at half-time, we were not satisfied with the way we had played, but to only be one point down was not too bad.
“Full credit to the character of the boys to be 11 points down at one stage and come back and win by six. That is a good test of character, and that is what this team is all about.”
Mumm was full of praise for the Exeter supporters, who made themselves heard amidst the many empty seats at the Madejski Stadium, for a game which attracted a crowd of only just over 6,000.
“The fans often are a 16th man on the road for us,” said 29-year-old Mumm. “The Madejski is a big place, and the Irish crowd is quite vocal, but every time we go on the road we have wonderful support from ‘The Tribe’, and it is such a good thing to have as a team.
“When you are away from home, to still be able to hear the Tomahawk Chop and the Chiefs chants means a lot to us as a team and no doubt helps us.”