Mumm Targets Strong Finish
7th May 2014
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Rob Baxter's men make the long trek to Newcastle Falcons this Saturday in the Aviva Premiership determined not only to claim a league double against their hosts, but at the same time sign off their 2013/14 campaign on a high note.

Sunday’s 30-29 defeat at home against Harlequins means Wasps are assured of finishing seventh and going into the play-off for the final place in the European Champions Cup with Stade Francais, while Worcester’s 44-20 loss at Saracens sent them down and meant Dean Richards’ Falcons survive.

With little seemingly on Saturday's fixture other than seasonal pride, Aussie international Mumm says the Chiefs are determined to produce a performance that will give them the perfect platform from which to launch next season's top-flight assault.

Certainly Sunday's display against high-flying Quins' will give them plenty of confidence, particularly in the wake of their previous display at home to Sale Sharks, so it's vital the men from the Westcountry continue to produce the goods.

“It points to the obvious that attitude and intent is a huge aspect of playing rugby at a professional level,” he said after Sunday’s narrow defeat.  “Most teams have the skill and the structure to play, it’s the mentality for 80 minutes that makes a difference. There was a dramatic shift on that on Sunday.

“It was disappointing to lose, especially as we had the lead all game and then dropped it with three or four minutes to go.

“There have been a few games like that but the positives are that when we’re right mentally we are not far away from the top teams. Saracens at home, Harlequins at home – they’re the teams that look like they’ll be playing in the semi-finals and that’s where we want to be. When we’re on mentally we can match them.

“There’s one game to go and we want to carry that mental aspect and intensity through. You want to finish with a little bit of a flourish in how you play. Newcastle will be fighting hard for it but there’s an opportunity to finish with a win so we’ll be right up for that game.”

With eighth-placed Gloucester travelling to Worcester on Saturday, there is every chance the Chiefs will finish ninth in the Premiership – their lowest finish in their four seasons in the top flight.

One of the reasons for the dip is that the close games have tended to go against Exeter this term, with Rob Baxter’s men losing by one score seven times.

That happened again on Sunday, when Harlequins responded to a home score by replying with one of their own within minutes three times. That included Tom Guest’s winning try with five minutes left on the clock, and Mumm admits that is something they have to work on ahead of next season.

“There’s a bit of trend and it’s happened a few too many times for us,” he said. “We score and then we don’t exit well enough from the play afterwards. That’s an easy thing to identify and relatively easy thing to fix. We have plenty of things to work on in the off-season, that will be one of the aspects.”

Mumm, however, was pleased with the improvement his side showed against Harlequins following their 55-12 loss against Sale two weeks earlier.

“We spoke about it and after a loss like that (against Sale) you have to have a reaction,” he said. “There was a reaction, particularly in the first 40 minutes when we played pretty well. It proves you get opportunities from intensity. We spoke about that and we did that reasonably well on Sunday.”

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Dave B

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