Dean Mumm relishing the chance to beat Cardiff Blues in Heineken Cup opener
Exeter Chiefs skipper Dean Mumm believes his side can go into their Heineken Cup campaign this weekend full of confidence after their excellent Premiership victory at Gloucester.
Star-studded Cardiff Blues are first up for the Chiefs in Pool Two at Sandy Park on Sunday, when the Devonians will be eager to get off to a winning start.
The Blues boast four British and Irish Lions in their squad, including the tourists' skipper Sam Warburton and Leigh Halfpenny, who was named the Lions' Player of the Tour to Australia early in the summer.
However, they have had an up-and-down season in the RaboDirect Pro12 so far, winning two of their opening five games to leave them in seventh place in the table.
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"You just have to look at the talent in their squad, and on paper they are an excellent side," said former Australia international Mumm.
"They might have had mixed results in the RaboDirect so far, but they are a very, very good side with quality players.
"They have a number of Lions players and Welsh internationals, so they are people who are renowned for playing well in big games, so it is a really big challenge for us.
"However, I'm not sure whether they have been to Sandy Park before and encountered a rather unique experience.
"I think we can be confident and pleased with our performance at Gloucester and it gives us some good momentum going into Europe."
Cardiff warmed up for the Chiefs match with a home win over bottom side Edinburgh on Sunday by the identical 29-12 scoreline by which Exeter triumphed at Kingsholm the same afternoon.
Exeter were heavily criticised after their first-half display in the 21-9 home defeat to defending league champions Leicester Tigers seven days before, and throughout the season they have played in fits and starts.
However, it all came together in the intimidating atmosphere of Kingsholm, and the margin of victory could have been even more emphatic.
"It was certainly a lot more enjoyable [than the previous Sunday], both to play in and after the game as well," admitted Mumm.
"I think we got back to having a bit of fun, which might have shown – hopefully it did. I think we thoroughly enjoyed performing for 80 minutes, and that was the real difference.
"We have done it in periods, but we haven't captured a full performance yet, and I think we did that reasonably well. It was close to a full 80-minute performance.
"There were one or two tries that were just an inch away, and accruing points just keeps putting pressure on teams."
Mumm added: "The reality for us between a good and bad performance is our mentality, and that's what we have got to keep working on.
"When we have it right, we can be a dangerous side, and when it's off it clearly shows, so a real focus for us is to get it right mentally from the start of the game and then we can build pressure on teams."
Even when Gloucester's immensely talented back line got the ball, they came up against an impressive Exeter defence, and after the match, head coach Rob Baxter described it as his side's "best defensive performance of the season".
"We have worked hard on our defence," said 29-year-old Mumm. "We brought in a new structure at the start of pre-season and it was always going to take a while to bed in, and there might have been a few teething issues.
"We have been working hard week to week to try and work through those issues and Sunday was a good result, but as pleased as we are, the defence has got to keep going up, because next Sunday is the Heineken Cup and the challenges that go with that.
"We are very, very pleased with our performance, but the challenge is to keep doing it."