Exeter Chiefs hammer Falcons to book Semi-final

Exeter Chiefs booked a place in the Challenge Cup Semi-final by beating Newcastle Falcons 48-13 at Sandy Park Stadium on Saturday.

The result means that Exeter Chiefs will travel to Kingsholm and play Gloucester who are unbeaten in what will be an all English Semi-final.

The Chiefs scored six tries in a clinical display in Devon to set up a mouth-watering West Country derby with Gloucester in a fortnight’s time.

A Dave Ewers effort and a penalty try had Exeter in command by the end of the opening quarter and they all but put the game to bed just a minute after the half-time break when Thomas Waldrom claimed try number three.

Byron McGuigan added a fourth just shy of the hour and Sam Hill and skipper Dean Mumm dotted down late on after Chris Harris had given Newcastle a semblance of hope with 66 minutes gone.

Both sides showed a real desire to put width on the ball early on but it was pure power up front that brought the first try of the night for the Chiefs. The pack piled on the pressure at a five-metre scrum and blindside flanker Ewers barged over with some ease with 12 minutes on the clock.

Slade’s conversion from 10 metres to the right of the posts gave the hosts a 7-0 lead and they doubled that advantage seven minutes later, despite having seen Newcastle enjoy plenty of possession in between. The second score was all the Falcons’ own doing, with full back Alex Tait pulling back Matt Jess after his clearance kick was charged down two metres from his own line. Jess would have won the race to the loose ball but Tait had no intention of letting that happen and referee Marius Mitrea pointed to the posts as a result.

The easy extras from Slade pushed the Chiefs 14 points in front, with the Falcons also down in numbers after Tait was duly sent to the sin bin.

The visitors survived Tait’s spell on the sidelines without conceding a single point, though, and they were next to
trouble the scoreboard courtesy of Tom Catterick. Their young fly half finally put the Falcons on the board a minute past the half hour with the simplest of penalties.

The gap was back up to two converted tries moments later as Slade struck a first penalty of his own but Catterick hit the target half a minute before the break to make it 17-6 heading into the final 40.

The first score after the restart was always likely to be key and the 10,022-strong crowd didn’t have to wait long for it to arrive. A first Falcons try really would have rocked the boat but instead it was the Chiefs who cemented their grip on proceedings less than a minute into the second period.

Waldrom was on hand to go over from close-range after a big burst and beautiful offload from fellow back rower Ewers set the platform for the score that left Newcastle with a mountain to climb. Slade maintained his 100 per cent record from the tee with a third conversion and a fourth success in all and Exeter had one foot in the final four at 24-6.

Slade struck again 14 minutes later to make matters even tougher for a Newcastle side who were struggling to mount a sustained attack of any sorts and the Chiefs put the game to bed just shy of the hour as Byron McGuigan bagged their fourth try. Will Chudley’s chip over the top from the base of a close-range ruck was taken on the full by the full back and Exeter were home and dry.

Slade’s final act before being replaced by Gareth Steenson was to slot the conversion and Newcastle were starring down the barrel of another big beating having been humbled 46-17 the last time they ran out at Sandy Park.

A stunning score from Harris threatened to light the fire for a Falcons comeback with 13 minutes left but Exeter well and truly snubbed that spark out in style in the closing stages. Hill and Mumm touched down for tries five and six on 69 and 71 minutes respectively as the Chiefs finsihed with a flourish.

Final Score Exeter Chiefs 48 (17) Newcastle Falcons 13 (6)

Scorers

Exeter Chiefs
Tries – D Ewers, Penalty, T Waldrom, B McGuigan, S Hill, D Mumm
Pen – T Catterick (2)
Con – T Catterick
Drop –
Cards –

Newcastle Falcons
Tries – C Harris
Pen – H Slade (2)
Con – H Slade (3), E Taione, G Steenson (2)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy),
Assistant ref: Neil Paterson (Scotland),
Assistant ref: Giuseppe Vivarini (Italy),
TMO: Jim Yuille (Scotland),
Citing Commissioner: Patrice Frantschi (France)

Teams

Exeter Chiefs

Byron McGuigan; Tom James, Ian Whitten, Sam Hill, Matt Jess; Henry Slade, Will Chudley; Ben Moon, Jack Yeandle, Tom Francis, Mitch Lees, Damian Welch, Dave Ewers, Dean Mumm (c), Tom Waldrom

Replacements: Elvis Taione, Carl Rimmer, Moray Low, Ben White, Kai Horstmann, Dave Lewis, Gareth Steenson, Fetu’u Vainikolo

Newcastle Falcons

Alex Tait; Chris Harris, Adam Powell, Juan Socino, Sinoti Sinoti; Tom Catterick, Ruki Tipuna; Rob Vickers, Scott Lawson, Kieran Brookes, Dom Barrow, Kane Thompson, Richard Mayhew, Will Welch (c), Mark Wilson

Replacements: George McGuigan, Eric Fry, Juan Pablo Orlandi, Calum Green, Dan Temm, Tane Takulua, Rory Clegg, Simon Hammersley

With thanks to EPCRugby.

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