Mumm and Jess eye return to top form for Exeter Chiefs
Exeter Chiefs' Dean Mumm and Matt Jess both hope a return to Aviva Premiership home comforts can restore their previous good form.
The Chiefs have still only lost once at Sandy Park in the league this season – and that came the last time they hosted a Premiership game on Devon soil on January 5.
Their loss to Northampton Saints was partly avenged a month later when the sides met again in the LV= Cup.
Now both forward Mumm and back Jess hope Sandy Park can heal recent wounds once again when London Welsh visit this afternoon, as Chiefs chase their first Premiership win since Wasps were swatted away on December 1.
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"We've only lost one Premiership game here all season, so we should fancy our chances here, particularly against London Welsh. This is a good opportunity for us to get a win," said Mumm.
"It has been very frustrating in recent weeks, not to get the results ourselves. We have been very well placed going into the Christmas period to set ourselves up for the top four. But we didn't quite get what we wanted out of those games and consequently we're now a little bit behind the eight-ball in chasing a place in the top four.
"What we need to do is refocus on what we've been doing, doing our jobs and playing well. When we play well I still think we can beat any team in the Premiership, as we proved earlier this season, so that's going to be our focus."
Motivation will not be a problem for Chiefs, according to Jess. He said: "The boys are just pumped and ready for the next game, especially with it being a home game. We relish these games and they are special to the Chiefs' crowd.
"We know exactly what we've got to do. For large parts of the games over the past few weeks we've seen how we can play, so we just have to push that through and hopefully get the win.
"The last couple of years in the Premiership have been tough, but we've learned our lessons.
"Sandy Park's a special place to play, we've made it a bit of a fortress this year, so we've just got to keep doing what we're doing and hopefully come out with four or five points."
Welsh were one of the few teams able to beat Chiefs back when their form was more consistent in the first half of the season. Both Mumm and Jess know what to expect. "We're anticipating a very physical game," said Mumm.
"The last time we played them in the Premiership, the only time, they beat us up, essentially, to get the win. So we have to make sure we match them physically.
Jess added: "We know exactly what they are going to be about. Their sole focus is probably going to be survival. We've been there, done that. But, especially us guys who have come up from the Championship, we should have at the back of our minds what we know they are going to come and try to do. What we've got to do is keep with our game and finish our chances. We're creating them, we just have to start finishing them."
Mumm and Jess are both included in Rob Baxter's starting XV this week. Jack Yeandle comes into the front row for his first Premiership start; skipper Tom Hayes returns in the second row and Ben White, injured last week, is also a starter in the Exeter back row.
Haydn Thomas will play at scrum-half in place of Will Chudley, while centre Sireli Naqelevuki comes in for Ian Whitten.
Exeter Chiefs: Arscott; Nowell, Naqelevuki, Shoemark, Jess; Steenson, Thomas; Rimmer, Yeandle, Tui; Hayes (capt), Mumm; White, Scaysbrook, Baxter. Replacements: Clark, Moon, Brown, Welch, Ewers, Chudley, Mieres, Dollman.