May 24, 2017 / 4:21 AM / 4 months ago

Rugby - Wallabies lock Mumm to hang up boots at end of season

Rugby Union Britain - Argentina v Australia - Rugby Championship - Twickenham Stadium, London, England - 8/10/16 Australia's Dean Mumm scores a try Action Images via Reuters / Henry Browne Livepic

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia lock Dean Mumm, who enjoyed a ‘second coming’ for the Wallabies that took him to the 2015 World Cup final, will retire from professional rugby at the end of the season, the Australian Rugby Union said on Wednesday.

The New Zealand-born veteran of 57 tests would bow out to focus on his philanthropic interests and other career paths, the ARU said in a statement.

Mumm will hike to the North Pole next year to raise funds for Borne, a premature birth research charity, a cause close to he and his family after his son Alfie was born a month premature during the World Cup in Britain.

“I’ve had a great career in rugby and it’s given me so much but now I see it as an opportunity to give back, as well as spend some quality time with my family,” said 33-year-old Mumm, whose grandfather Bill earned an All Blacks cap.

“(My wife) Sarah and I are really passionate about the premature birth foundation, so I‘m looking forward to contributing whatever I can to helping the cause.”

A versatile player capable of slotting in the back row, Mumm made his test debut against Ireland in Melbourne in 2008 and became a regular in Robbie Deans’s side but he gradually fell out of favour and headed to Europe to re-boot his career.

He was embraced as a cult hero by Exeter fans and captained the club during a three-year stint in the English Premiership before returning home in 2015 to make an audacious bid for a spot in Michael Cheika’s World Cup squad.

Earning his first test cap in nearly five years during the southern hemisphere’s Rugby Championship, Mumm would go on to captain the Wallabies against Uruguay at the World Cup and play every match of the tournament.

Mumm has also enjoyed a long and successful career in Super Rugby, and currently sits on 124 caps in his second stint with the Sydney-based New South Wales Waratahs who are battling for a playoffs spot.

He will have a chance to add to his 57 caps in June internationals against Fiji, Scotland and Italy before the Rugby Championship starts in August.

“Dean’s got a real plan for his life post rugby... but he has still got plenty of opportunity to leave a legacy in the gold jersey and I expect he will do everything he can to do that before he hangs up the boots,” Cheika said.

Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by John O'Brien

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