Rugby World Cup
Exeter Chiefs stint made me rediscover my passion for rugby, says Australia's Dean Mumm
Sam Bruce
October 6, 2015
Dean Mumm returned to Australia an improved player Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Dean Mumm says a three-year stint with Exeter in the Aviva Premiership helped to rejuvenate his career as well as ensuring he takes nothing for granted in a second coming at Test level.

The Australia lock departed home shores in 2012 after a solid career with both the Waratahs and Wallabies to link with Exeter in the search for a change of scenery and a different outlook on his career.

At the time it appeared as though he'd played his final Test, but earlier this year Mumm negotiated a move back to Australia to join the Waratahs; having impressed enough at Exeter -- he was named captain of the Premiership's Team of the Year -- and in a handful of appearances in Super Rugby, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika soon found a place for him in his Rugby Championship and World Cup squads.

Speaking ahead of the Australia's pool-deciding clash with Wales at Twickenham on Saturday, Mumm said his time at Exeter helped him rediscover his passion for the game.

"I think it has just made me a little bit more well-rounded, in terms of the way you approach things," Mumm said. "More than anything, it's more of a mental difference than anything else. When you've played a long time in Australia, you can get stuck in one mindset and when you come over [to England] you get a different opinion and perspective on what's going on. To change that is pretty refreshing.

"In my time at Exeter, I really started to enjoy and got really passionate about the people I played with and we've got that feeling in this [Australia] team. The journey that we've been on so far here has very much been making sure that we believe in who we are as a team and also enjoying what we do together. And I think those two elements combined, have made me a better player than when I left."

Australian players have, in recent times, become an increasingly popular target for cashed-up European and Japanese clubs with the likes of Nic White, Jesse Mogg, Peter Betham and Taqele Naiyaravoro just a few of those to depart this year.

A move to the northern hemisphere was traditionally something Australian players would look at towards the end of their careers but the money on offer in the modern game and the chance to live and play in another country is making the opportunity increasingly harder to resist at an earlier age.

Mumm wasn't sure whether his experience would help others make a call on their future, but he was in little doubt as to how beneficial his time at Exeter had been personally.

"Maybe I'm a case study but ultimately I don't think I'm going to affect individual's decisions," he said. "But if someone was to ask me, [I'd say] it's a worthwhile approach. Everyone's context is different in terms of what they do with their family or how they approach their decision-making and what motivates them. In terms of getting a different perspective and how you go about your career, there's a lot of stories about people who've been away and have come back and have performed, and have enjoyed themselves, ultimately, coming back.

"The main thing for me and for others, for Drew [Mitchell] and for Gits [Matt Giteau] and to speak on them, you go away and you stop playing in a Wallabies jumper -- you've always favoured it but you've had a very finite time in it don't you -- and it's a stark reality when you don't get the opportunity to do that anymore.

"And I certainly treasure every moment I've got in this jumper and hopefully I can show that when I play."

The Wallabies head into their clash with Wales having won the past 10 encounters between the two sides in a run that stretches all the way back to 2008. But Mumm pointed to Wales' triumphs over England and Fiji as proof they had the resilience needed to win the big games.

"Their ability to win, ultimately, is the key," he said. "You've seen games where they've had certain challenges but the dearth of experience across their coaching staff and senior players have meant that they haven't got flustered and got upset by any of this; they've ploughed on and they've moved on to some very good victories.

"I mean England obviously, but I think more indicative was their performance against Fiji when Fiji were certainly very up for it and quite threatening there in the second half. But the composure shown by the team, the coaching staff and the leaders certainly meant that they put themselves in a position to go forward and win that game which was a pretty short turnaround.

"So we have a lot of respect for what they can do on that front. But also, you know, they've got key threats across the field; Jamie Roberts, [Alex] Cuthbert a bit wider, those guys are big threats in the backs. And then in the forwards, I think I've alluded to it before, the experience and the strength that they have in there across the park; this is a very good side."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.

  • Football

  • Cricket

  • Rugby

    • Days
    • Hrs
    • Mins
    • Secs

    F1 - Mexican GP

  • OtherLive >>

    Boxing - Nelson v Wilson; Simmons v Dickinson; Joshua v Gavern (Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle)
    Golf - Houston Open
    Snooker - China Open
    Tennis - Miami Open