Exeter Chiefs 48 – 13 Newcastle Falcons

Saturday 04 April 2015 Written by: Adam

Newcastle Falcons endured a night to forget as their European Challenge Cup dream ended at the quarter-final stage in Devon.

A ruthless Exeter Chiefs side ran in six tries, all converted, to secure a semi-final trip to Gloucester, kicking on from a 17-6 half-time lead.

Despite enjoying plenty of territory in the opening half the Falcons found themselves down at the interval, shipping soft points to a home side who made no bones about taking them.

Within 12 minutes Exeter were a try up, earning a five-metre scrum from turnover ball when Newcastle grounded over their own line. England Saxons flanker Dave Ewers made them pay when the back-rower scored from the scrum base, fellow Saxon Henry Slade converting.

The Chiefs were benefiting from some charitable Falcons’ defensive play, Alex Tait’s charged-down clearance handing them a penalty try on 20 minutes when he pulled back Matt Jess in-goal.

Tait picked up a yellow card in the aftermath, Slade’s conversion seeing the Falcons 14 points down despite showing plenty of energy.

Sinoti Sinoti’s now-infamous side-stepping had them over the gain-line on a number of occasions, Juan Pablo Socino also running the hard yards on his return to the side.

But it was to the boot that they turned for their only points of the half, Tom Catterick slotting a pair of penalties as Exeter infringed inside their own 22.

Slade answered with one of his own for an 11-point interval advantage, the second half seeing the Falcons struggling to cope with the momentum of the home side.

Less than a minute into the second half they were behind their own posts, Thomas Waldrom making easy metres down the right to score.

Henry Slade’s penalty kept the scoreboard moving, full-back Byron McGuigan removing any lingering doubt from the result when he chased down a chip to the right corner for their fourth.

Newcastle at least managed the consolation of a Chris Harris try when the Cumbrian continued his scoring form for the season, powering through a gap down the left and sprinting to the line.

Catterick added the extras but his side ended on a downbeat note, shipping a pair of late tries as Sam Hill dummied and went through some ineffective defence.

Skipper Dean Mumm rubbed salt in the wound when his supporting run saw the Aussie lock collecting an offload to dot down from close range.

The Falcons at least kept going until the final whistle, Tonga scrum-half Tane Takulua offering a promising cameo from the bench.

The former Northland man linked well and formed part of a late breakaway which almost handed Rory Clegg a try, but it was not to be Newcastle’s night as the Chiefs ran out convincing winners.

**Newcastle Falcons**
A Tait (S Hammersley, 51), C Harris, A Powell (R Clegg, 58), JP Socino, S Sinoti, T Catterick, R Tipuna (T Takulua, 51); R Vickers (E Fry, 51), S Lawson (G McGuigan, 59), K Brookes (JP Orlandi, 51), D Barrow (C Green, 73), K Thompson, R Mayhew, W Welch (captain, D Temm, 59), M Wilson.
Sin-bin: A Tait (20).

Falcons scorers – Tries: C Harris. Conversions: T Catterick. Penalties: T Catterick 2.

**Exeter Chiefs**
B McGuigan, T James, I Whitten, S Hill (F Vainikolo, 74), M Jess, H Slade (G Steenson, 59), W Chudley (D Lewis, 59); B Moon (C Rimmer, 51), J Yeandle (E Taione, 65), T Francis (M Low, 59, T Francis, 74), M Lees (K Horstmann, 59), D Mumm (captain), D Ewers (S Skinner, 62), B White, T Waldrom.

Chiefs scorers – Tries: D Ewers, Penalty try, T Waldrom, B McGuigan, S Hill, D Mumm. Conversions: H Slade 4, G Steenson 2. Penalties: H Slade 2.

Referee: M Mitrea (Italy). Attendance: 10,022.