Australia lock Dean Mumm has backed Exeter Chiefs boss Rob Baxter to succeed Eddie Jones as England coach.
Lock Mumm hailed Baxter for “reinvigorating” his career during his three-year stint at the Sandy Park club: the 32-year-old admitted he thought his Wallabies career was over when joined the Chiefs, but now credits Baxter and Exeter for handing him a new lease of life at Test level.
England chief Ian Ritchie believes national coach Jones’ eventual successor must boast international-level experience, but Mumm insists Baxter can thrive in the Test arena.
“I would definitely endorse Rob for the England role,” said Mumm of Exeter boss Baxter’s credentials to coach England. “It’s fair to say he’s doing a reasonable job at the moment.
“The way Exeter have risen in the last few years is a great showcase for what he can do.”
A host of Aviva Premiership coaches reacted with frustration to RFU boss Ritchie’s assertion that Jones’ successor with England must boast Test coaching experience to contest the role.
England’s Australian boss Jones could step down in 2019, with the RFU keen to draw up contingency plans for his replacement. Exeter boss Baxter, Northampton’s Jim Mallinder and Leicester’s Richard Cockerill have all already expressed surprise at Ritchie’s comments.
That trio believes the consensus among English top-flight coaches is that England are yet to hand a successful Premiership boss the chance to lead the national side.
Mumm thinks Baxter has already proven himself capable of coaching at Test level, leading Exeter to last term’s Premiership final.
“I think the extra four years now can give him tremendous experience in the Premiership level,” said Mumm. “Obviously results will matter over the course of that time.
“Now you’re at that top and forcing that different type of pressure, that will really show whether you’ve got that readiness. But I would wholeheartedly endorse him for it.”
Mumm swapped the Waratahs for Exeter in 2012 fully expecting his Australia career to end on 33 caps. The forward relished his rejuvenation at the Chiefs however, before returning home and forcing his way into Australia’s squad for the 2015 World Cup.
The Wallabies powered all the way to the tournament’s final, with Mumm since moving past 50 Test caps and remaining an integral part of Michael Cheika’s Australia squad.
Back in England and gearing up for Australia’s Rugby Championship clash with Argentina at Twickenham on Saturday, Mumm explained just how Baxter and Exeter helped him force his Wallabies comeback.
“The perspective with which I came to the UK in 2012 was thinking that I wasn’t going to have a Wallaby career beyond that point,” Mumm said.
“So to come back now flying in with the Wallabies, there’s a real sense of pride in that, and one that you don’t take any moment in this jersey for granted.
“Every chance you get to wear it and do something in it is particularly important. Without a doubt I’m a better player for having gone to Exeter.
“The mental perspective is so important in your career, how you mentally drive yourself is just as important as the physical elements.
“That was certainly improved through my time at Exeter. Also I think down there it’s a real love of the game, the tribalism and those elements, they’re really exciting and can really reinvigorate you as an individual.
“I certainly got that in terms of the way they handled it, but also some of the enjoyment in some of the more amateur-style approaches to some of the things they do off the field. That was a terrific experience for me.”
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Baxter backed to succeed Jones as England boss
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