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Newcastle Falcons vs Exeter Chiefs – Match Report

A blistering first half performance saw the Chiefs secure the fastest bonus point of the season against a depleted Falcons side who suffered their third consecutive defeat of the season.

Exeter punished eleventh place Falcons scoring five tries in the first half. Man of the match Don Armand scored two tries whilst centurion Matt Jess dotted over for his 23rd try for the Chiefs – a well worked team try scored from inside their own half.

An early penalty kicked by Mike Delany opened the scoring for what was a promising start for the Falcons. But Delaney turned from hero to zero in just 60 seconds when his own clearance kick was charged down and scored by Will Chudley to open the Chiefs account. Gareth Steenson then scored the conversion to make the score 3-7 after only six minutes.

Exeter were courageous early on and a five metre line-out allowed the pack to trundle over the Falcon forward’s who looked fatigued early on. New signing Julian Salvi was the man in charge of it all with Steenson kicking the extras.

Pictures: Exeter Rugby Club/Pinnacle Photo Agency

Rob Baxter’s men had a discernible upper-hand in the first-quarter amongst the forward pack and another line out drive was collected successfully. Exposing the blind-side, Armand flopped onto the ground securing his first of the game. Steenson’s kick hit the woodwork which left the scoreline 3-19 in the Chiefs favour.

With just two minutes of the half remaining, fly-half Steenson released England returnee Henry Slade who handed the ball to Armand and the flanker lumbered over for his second try.

Numerous opportunities went begging for Newcastle, a purposeful line-out which looked threatening eventually being lost early in the first half. Accuracy was a key aspect of the game and one that will undeniably be focused on for the next game.

The second half started well, a clear initiative flowing through the Falcon side. Early chances for Phil Dolman and Alex Tait were encouraging, however both being penalised for forward passes and knock-ons respectively.

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Breakdown play was dominated thoroughly by the Chiefs in the first half as they secured both quick ball and slow ball whilst using it effectively in their sharp back-line.

A second half regurgitation allowed the Falcons to have a superiority at the rucks and mauls, thus allowing substitute Tom Catterick to unleash his deadly backs, although once again the accuracy of the finishing simply was not present.

Dean Richard’s evidently emphasised the importance of creating chances, perhaps not implying there must be players in support for these to be of any success. Falcons came out of the blocks in the second half using their fresh legs to creep over the harsh gain line – a positive Newcastle can take away from a somewhat negative match.

Catterick’s deep kick into the Chiefs 22 presented the Falcon’s with a golden opportunity for consolation points. However, the only thing emerging from the scrum was yet another accuracy error – Exeter clearing their lines and exerting pressure.

Pictures: Exeter Rugby Club/Pinnacle Photo Agency

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