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Dean Mumm prepared for trip into unknown with Exeter Chiefs

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 11, 2013

By Mike Baker

Exeter's Dean Mumm is tackled by Toulon's Jonny Wilkinson (left) and Stefon Armitage last weekend. Picture: Tim Ireland/PA

Exeter's Dean Mumm is tackled by Toulon's Jonny Wilkinson (left) and Stefon Armitage last weekend. Picture: Tim Ireland/PA

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Exeter Chiefs captain Dean Mumm believes blissful ignorance might just prove a deciding factor as his side embark on one of the toughest tasks in European rugby.

Following their 14-9 Heineken Cup defeat at the hands of the reigning champions at Sandy Park last Saturday, Chiefs must now win at Stade Mayol this weekend to remain in contention for the quarter-final places.

But, like Chiefs, Toulon rarely lose at home, and will be more than a little unwilling to cede ground on the sides below them, having just assumed top spot in Pool Two.

Mumm admits he is not exactly sure what to expect in Toulon – and there is a very good reason for that – but feels not knowing might just work in his side's favour.

He said: "None of us have been there, which is a bonus. I don't think any of the guys in the squad have played at Stade Mayol before. We've seen footage, we've heard stories, but it's a brand-new experience for us.

"That does mean there's no preconceptions and no mental scars or anything like that, just a massive opportunity for us.

"And Stade Mayol, against Toulon, it's as good a test as you'll get. What a huge opportunity to go there and experience everything that it is. But we're also chasing points and chasing the win."

Historical precedent and away disadvantage aside, few who witnessed the narrow defeat to Toulon would baulk at former Australia international Mumm's suggestion that Chiefs might just pull off something memorable in France.

But for a bit of luck, or the taking of a couple of slightly different split-second decisions, Mumm might have been referring to beating them twice in succession.

The 29-year-old lock was quick to acknowledge the difference between the sides, though, and expects Chiefs to have worked hard this week to prepare as best they can for what awaits.

He said: "We're not too far away, but unfortunately near enough's not good enough. Near enough doesn't get you to where you want to go.

"We're going to keep aiming high. We've spoken about how we've been performing and we're happy with our performance, but you've got to be happy with winning as well.

"Winning's also a habit, so we just have to get back into the habit of nailing those key moments.

"We're a team that backs ourselves but we have to learn sometimes about when to run and when to kick to touch. We probably gambled too much coming out of our own half.

"We had the opportunity in attack; some four on threes and three on twos, we just didn't nail the final pass."

Just in case their opponents were wondering, though, Mumm was quick to point out that Chiefs are not about to change how they play – so if they do lose in France, it won't be for want of attacking.

"We came into this game knowing we had to back ourselves and the game we've developed," he said. "We're very proud of that so we're not shying away from it. That is how we play well.

"We will continue to do that. I'm very proud of this team and of the way we play."

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