Exeter Chiefs' new recruit Dean Mumm made his long-awaited arrival in Devon yesterday – and he is anxious to get stuck into his career with the ambitious Aviva Premiership outfit.
It was back in April this year when Exeter announced the high-profile capture of the experienced Australia international second-row forward. Since then, the New Zealand-born 28-year-old has been completing his rugby commitments 'down under'.
Mumm, who played in 33 Test matches for Australia, has now brought an eight-year stay with New South Wales Waratahs to an end. The 6ft 5in forward is ready and willing to make the most of the opportunity provided by a two-year contract with the Chiefs.
Mumm already likes the look of Exeter. "I've had a look around town, and it's exciting to be here. The facilities look great," he said at Sandy Park yesterday.
Completing the journey from Sydney has taken time. "I'm really excited to get here at last and meet [head coach] Rob Baxter and everyone. It has taken quite a while, and being here was more of an idea. Now it's reality.
"It's like my first day at a new school, but sometimes you need a change. I really enjoyed my time with the Waratahs and playing Super Rugby [the southern hemisphere's elite club competition], but I knew I was ready to try something else.
"The time had come to try something new, and the Premiership is certainly one of the top competitions in the world," Mumm added. "It's the intensity and physicality of the competition, week in, week out. It's a war of attrition, and you have to really work hard to earn your points.
"I'm looking forward to getting stuck in, and it's going to be a real challenge for me. That challenge is the reason I came here."
Mumm's career with the Waratahs took him to New Zealand and South Africa every year for Super Rugby assignments. Now he is looking forward to facing the best that Europe has to offer, as Exeter prepare for their first Heineken Cup adventure.
"What a challenge, and how exciting it's going to be," he said. "Obviously, I've never done it, and it doesn't get any harder than Leinster away [the Chiefs' first European test in October]. It will be really exciting to be part of it."
Despite his international pedigree – he has captained Australia and the Waratahs – he knows he cannot take an immediate first-team spot at Sandy Park for granted. "It's all about earning your way into the team, training hard and working your way in," Mumm added. "That's exactly the way I want it.
"There's nothing worse than someone getting something before they've earned it, and in my opinion you have to earn respect. That's the way I'm hoping to do it, and I just want to get on and play."
Exeter Braves went down to a 45-30 Aviva Premiership A League defeat to Saracens Storm at Old Albanians yesterday. It was a first defeat in over a year for the Chiefs' second-string XV.
Mike Pope (two), Junior Poluleuligaga, Will Carrick-Smith and Ben White scored tries for the Braves, while Henry Slade added a conversion and a penalty.
Northampton Saints' Gerrit-Jan van Velze has been cited for an alleged tip tackle on the Chiefs' scrum-half, Will Chudley, during last Sunday's Aviva Premiership fixture at Franklin's Gardens.