Dean Mumm eager for Exeter Chiefs to kick on
Exeter Chiefs forward Dean Mumm believes Wasps' home victory over Leicester Tigers last weekend demonstrates just what a difficult challenge faces the Devon club at Sandy Park on Saturday.
While Exeter were capturing their first Premiership away win of the season with a 27-23 success at London Irish last Sunday, Wasps were beating the Tigers 14-12 at High Wycombe, only 25 miles up the road from Reading.
The Midlanders were admittedly depleted, due to international call-ups, but it was still a fine triumph for Wasps, who boast the two in-form wings in the league in Tom Varndell and Christian Wade. The talented pair have scored 13 tries between them in nine matches.
Incredibly, there are now only six points covering the top eight sides in the Premiership, with Exeter sixth on 24 points and Wasps one point and two places behind.
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Australia international back-five forward Mumm said: "We have got a very tough game against Wasps at Sandy Park.
"We have had good results there this season, and it is important for us to continue that, and mix that up by hopefully picking up some more away wins.
"The fact that Wasps got a win against Leicester proves we are in for one hell of a match.
"We are nine rounds into the league season and now is moving time, really. It is a time when things start to develop.
"There is a core bunch at the top, but it seems to be a very even Premiership, and teams, particularly at home, can beat any other team on their day, and it continues to be that way."
Mumm was delighted to get a monkey off Exeter's back by winning their first league game on the road this campaign – at the fifth attempt.
"We are very happy with the victory, perhaps not in the way that it came about, but it is important to win those games away from home if you have got aspirations to finish high up the league," said the 33-cap Wallaby.
"We started the game really well. It was a real focus of ours to try and go there and release the pressure on us. Playing away from home, it is easier if you get a good start and you can put the pressure on the home team, and I think we did that reasonably well.
"The main issue was we didn't sustain that throughout the game; 21-3 was a significant lead and it was important for us to try and maintain that, but you can't fault the excellent start we made and it gave us a lot of confidence."
Mumm said he thought the good start was partly down to the two-week break many of the players had enjoyed since their last Premiership game against Worcester Warriors.
"We were certainly raring to go and there was plenty of positive chat going into the game and everybody was really ready for it," he said.
"I think it helped us that the boys that played in the LV= Cup matches in the previous two weeks were excellent, and that really spurred us on.
"It just shows you that you are not safe in your position in the team. Exeter have a squad that has really good depth, and that showed in the LV= Cup.
"It was probably time for the guys who had had a break to come out and put in a performance, and perhaps we did that early on, but it definitely wasn't an 80-minute performance."
Exeter's game became a bit loose after they had raced into an 18-point lead after only 18 minutes, and London Irish made them pay as they edged 23-21 in front after 50 minutes.
"The weather came in, not horrendously, but it was a factor, and the momentum swung back Irish's way," explained Mumm, who arrived in Devon from Super 15 side Waratahs in September.
"The really good teams can control periods when the momentum goes against them and that is the real challenge for us going forward, but the important thing is that we really ground out that win," he added.
"When the momentum does change and you are up against it, it is important to stay strong, and I thought we did that in the latter stages of the match.
"The lead certainly disappeared, and I am only new to this team, but what I understand is that Exeter are not a team that lacks character, and I think that showed once again on Sunday.
"It was very important for us to get an away win, and hopefully, it will be a springboard for things going forward."