Dean Mumm is new Exeter Chiefs skipper
Dean Mumm says he is 'honoured' to have been appointed as Exeter Chiefs' new skipper for next term.
Head coach Rob Baxter has asked the 29-year-old Australian international to take over from fellow lock Tom Hayes, who is still recovering from a back operation.
Irishman Hayes, who joined the Chiefs from Plymouth Albion in 2008, has been skipper since 2009 and led the club to promotion to the Aviva Premiership in his first season in charge.
Mumm admits it will be a big challenge to follow in Hayes' footsteps, but the former New South Wales Waratah is excited about the challenge.
"They're big shoes to fill aren't they?" said Mumm when asked about his new role. "Tom has quite a legacy here at the club because his time as captain has been one of real change and real success. I say full credit to him for what he's achieved and yes it is a big job to try and fill his shoes.
"That said, you can't really approach it that way, you have to put you own mark on things. Tom has done an excellent job for us, he's a real strong leader still within the squad and I suppose I'm lucky to be the guy that gets to run out first onto the field.
"Tom will still be a strong aspect of our squad going forward, as will a number of others within the team.
"One of our strengths is that we have real quality within the squad and there are a few guys with a mountain of experience in different competitions. Having that strength and leadership all helps to bring a fresh approach and a nice balance to things.
"If you look around the team there are so many guys capable of leading their respective areas, so if everybody looks after their own individual areas, it certainly makes it a whole lot easier for the person named as captain to look after what he has to look after.
"For me, though, I'm very honoured to have been given the captaincy and I'm very excited about the opportunity."
Since arriving in the Westcountry last season, Mumm has quickly settled into life at Sandy Park and says the forthcoming campaign is one that he and his team-mates are already looking forward to with just weeks to go before the big kick-off.
"It is great over here and I'm really enjoying it," said Mumm, who during the summer represented the Barbarians against the British & Irish Lions in Hong Kong. "I wrote an email the other day to a friend back home and in it I said I enjoy being at a club with a whole bunch of ambition about going forward. Obviously we've had good momentum from success in the past, but we want that to continue.
"Also it's great to be at a club that is very honest, very truthful and you know where you stand all the time. You may think that is something that should perhaps form the foundation of professional life, but unfortunately that's not always the case. I'm thoroughly enjoying being here at the Chiefs - enjoying the bunch of boys here and of course all the staff as well. It's a nice place to be and I really hope we can continue the momentum forward."
Having played all his rugby prior to arriving in Devon back home, Mumm admits his perception on the game has also changed considerably since his move.
"My perception on the professional game has definitely changed because it's certainly more relaxed than at home," he continued. "Sometimes you're perception is that it can be a really intense environment, but it doesn't need to be like that at all and you can be reasonably relaxed and confident in the group around you.
"That's something the Chiefs are really good at and we regularly speak about everyone doing their own job well and to just keep excelling and improving as an individual.
"I think once you get that individual improvement, the group stuff is not far behind and that's when the results tend to follow as well."
As for the new season, the Wallaby is optimistic about Exeter's chances but refuses to lay down any definitive markers for the campaign ahead.
"One of the great things in rugby is that come pre-season you can always have that optimism and promise everything," said Mumm.
"Like Rob says, all we're really thinking about is focusing on improving as individuals and if we can all get a certain element better, the team will get better too.
"As a club we're very ambitious and we want to target the top four of the Premiership and qualify in the Heineken Cup. They are all goals for us, but we must focus on the little things first, before doing the big things."