After three hugely successful years in Devon, two of which he has spent as skipper of the Exeter Chiefs, the 31-year-old is heading home to Australia to pursue a dream he thought had seemingly evaporated.
Set to return to former club the Waratahs, the vastly-experienced forward is hoping his return to Super Rugby will offer him the lifeline he needs to re-ignite a Wallabies career that to date has yielded 33 caps.
In what is understandably a big year for any international player, the chance to potentially figure in this summer’s Rugby World Cup was an opportunity Mumm knows he simply could not turn down.
However, he will leave Devon not only an adopted Westcountrymen, but forever a ‘Chief’ such has been the impact he has made both on and off the field.
Fittingly, Mumm – as ever – was at the heart of Exeter’s play in their final Aviva Premiership game of the season against Sale Sharks at the weekend.
From the outset, Rob Baxter’s side set an impressive tone, eventually seeing off their Northern rivals 44-16 thanks to a seven-try display in front of a record home crowd of 12,642.
Sadly, the five-point haul was not quite enough to edge the Chiefs into one of the two remaining play-off berths for the first time in the club’s short Premiership existence. However, Mumm insisted there had been plenty to take from what had been an ‘outstanding’ season for the club.
“It was certainly a good way to finish,” remarked Mumm at the final whistle. “We had played against Sale recently and not had the results we wanted, so today we set out to try and rectify that – and I thought we did that pretty well.
“If we’re honest, we lost a bit of momentum during the second quarter of the first half, but in the end we came home with a wet sail in front of a 12,000-strong crowd here at Sandy Park, so it was a great game to finish on.
“I thought second half we exerted a lot of pressure on them, they picked up a number of yellow cards and that paid dividends for us. We ran from further down the field than in previous games, but some of the skills on display really showcased what we can do as a team and what I think you will see more of in the future.”
Although not on the scoresheet himself, Mumm said Saturday’s showing was a fitting finale to what has been a great season for the Chiefs, who as well as recording a best-ever league finish also reached the LV= Cup Final for a second successive season, as well as reaching a first-ever European semi-final.
And Mumm believes the foundations of the season were set out early doors as the club went through pre-season unbeaten, before clocking up a number of wins during the opening weeks of the campaign.
“We’ve had a great season and I think the key to that was the way we started,” added Mumm. “We won a lot of game at the start and although we probably let ourselves down a little bit around Christmas and New Year, we came back with real strength in this back end.
“Any side who can beat Northampton home and away and do the same to Saracens, that’s not a bad side and they were brilliant wins for us.”
But as Mumm and his wife Sarah prepare to head back ‘Down Under’ – the man himself knows he is leaving the Chiefs in fine fettle and is predicting a bright future ahead for the club.
“This is a brilliant place to play and I’ve had so much fun during my time here,” said Mumm. “It’s not only a great place to play, but it’s also a great place to live. Exeter is showing itself as a very attractive place for players to come.
“Personally, I’ve loved playing in this jersey, I feel privileged to have played at Sandy Park and with such a wonderful group of players.
“Certainly I’ve learnt a few things along the way and it’s all far exceeded what I thought it would be like. As I said, what a team to play for and what a culture to have in a professional side – it’s unique here for sure, but I think it will only get bigger and better moving forward.”
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