Exeter top Premiership after Falcons victory

Ian Whitten is tackled by the Falcons defence

Exeter Chiefs moved provisionally to the top of the Aviva Premiership standings by beating Newcastle Falcons 32-17 at Sandy Park.

Saracens still have to play in this round but if they lose to London Irish in New Jersey Exeter will remain on top.

A briliant second half performance from Exeter won them the match.

The game was finely poised up until the final quarter before Exeter scored two late tries to move above Saracens at the top of the table, albeit having played one game more.

These sides were much more closely matched than their league positions would have had you believe, but ultimately Newcastle made the long trip back home with nothing to show for their valiant efforts after being levelled 3-all at half-time.

Gareth Steenson’s reliable kicking was a fixture of the contest, and it helped him become Exeter’s record league point’s scorer.

The defeat leaves Newcastle in 11th, eight points clear of London Irish, but also being cut adrift from the rest of the league. Newcastle started the game quietly confident, but a mistake from Nili Latu – knocking on – allowed Steenson the chance to kick three points, an opportunity he took well. Title-chasing Exeter were frustrated in their efforts to add to the early three points, despite dominating much of the possession since Steenson’s penalty.

The next points were awarded to Newcastle. From an infringement midway through Exeter’s half, Falcons drew level through Mike Delany, and their defensive efforts were enough to carry them level through to the break. Following a solid if not entertaining first period, the second half began with the two teams trading tries.

First, the Chiefs went ahead through Thomas Waldrom, who caught Chris Harris’ wayward clearance before going over, with Steenson adding the extras. Then, almost immediately from the restart, Latu’s clever play from the scrum led to Sonatane Takulua touching down. Delany levelled the score from the tee. Exeter returned themselves to cap off a frantic five minutes.

Phil Dollman was the man who finished off an excellent team move. Steenson, who helped set up the try with former Newcastle man Will Chudley, kicked the two points.

After a couple of minutes without one, Newcastle notched the afternoon’s fourth try through Latu. It came as a result of Takulua’s hard work, with Latu crossing the stripe. Delany converted, and the sides were level once more.

The game turned in the home side’s favour once Will Welch was sent off for the visitors. Steenson’s penalty restored Exeter’s lead before a couple of tries from Sam Hill and Elvis Taione, the latter securing a bonus point just before the full-time whistle to take the final score to 32-17.

Final Score Exeter Chiefs 32 (3) Newcastle Falcons 17 (3)

Scorers

Exeter Chiefs
Tries – Waldrom, Dollman, Hill, Taione
Pen – Steenson (2)
Con – Steenson (3)
Drop –

Newcastle Falcons
Tries – Takulua, Latu
Pen – Delany
Con – Delany (2)
Drop –

Match Officials
Referee : Craig Maxwell-Keys(14th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Simon McConnell & Kelvin Stewart.
TMO: David Rose.

Teams

Exeter Chiefs

15 Phil Dollman , 14 Olly Woodburn , 13 Henry Slade , 12 Sam Hill , 11 Ian Whitten , 10 Gareth Steenson , 9 Will Chudley , 1 Ben Moon , 2 Jack Yeandle (capt) , 3 Harry Williams , 4 Lewis Stevenson , 5 Geoff Parling , 6 Don Armand , 7 Julian Salvi , 8 Thomas Waldrom

Replacements : 16 Elvis Taione , 17 Alec Hepburn , 18 Carl Rimmer , 19 Ollie Atkins , 20 Dave Ewers , 21 Dave Lewis , 22 Will Hooley , 23 Max Bodilly

Newcastle Falcons

15 Alex Tait, 14 Giamba Venditti, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Sonatane Takulua, 1 Alex Rogers, 2 George McGuigan, 3 Mike Cusack, 4 Mouritz Botha, 5 Callum Green, 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch, 8 Nili Latu

Replacements : 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Ben Harris, 18 Kensuke Hatakeyama, 19 Richard Mayhew, 20 Ally Hogg, 21 Michael Young, 22 Andy Goode, 23 Tom Penny

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