Match Report

Newcastle Falcons - 14

Exeter Chiefs - 20

Sunday 26th Nov 2023 | KO 15:00 | Kingston Park

They led for much of the game but Newcastle Falcons had to make do with another Gallagher Premiership bonus point on Sunday.

Josh Iosefa-Scott’s late try from a pick and go decided a physical contest which began to the spectacular backdrop of Worflags’ black and white display across Kingston Park’s West Stand.

The home side led 14-8 at the break but found themselves a try behind inside the first minute when a 60-metre counter-attack saw Immanuel Feyi-Waboso scoring an unconverted try down the right-hand side.

The Falcons roared back into the contest, scoring twice inside three minutes, the first through hooker Jamie Blamire.

The England international cut against the grain on a supporting line to round off a sensational team move which was started by an incisive run from winger Iwan Stephens – a sequence of offloads and a run from Adam Radwan helping put Blamire through a hole.

Louie Johnson converted in his first Premiership start for the club, and he did so again just three minutes later when Matias Moroni chased down a kick ahead from Stephens to score down the left following a charging run from lock John Hawkins inside his own half.

The Falcons maintained their momentum when Radwan raced down the right, only for the Chiefs to win turnover ball when the supporting Blamire found himself isolated 15 metres out.

A jackal turnover from Guy pepper inside his own 22 snuffed out a Chiefs attack around the half-hour mark, and even when Exeter kicked a penalty to the corner the Falcons disrupted their set-piece drill and mopped up the loose ball.

Henry Slade Slade missed with a penalty from 25 metres out in front of the posts as the visitors continued to make hard work of it, but the centre made amends shortly after by finding the target from slightly further out.

That cut Newcastle’s lead to 14-8 at half-time, and the Falcons had to be at their defensive best early in the second half when the Chiefs kicked a penalty to the corner only for skipper Callum Chick to win a precious turnover near his own try-line.

Pedro Rubiolo rose high to steal an Exeter line-out on Newcastle’s 22 as the Devon side dominated possession without converting it into points, and Sam Cross won a jackal penalty near his own try-line as the pressure kept coming.

The momentum finally told on 64 minutes when Henry Slade scored down the left, supporting a line-break from Ben Hammersley on a midfield kick return.

Slade’s conversion miss left the Falcons up by a single point, but the visitors led for the first time on 68 minutes when replacement prop Josh Iosefa-Scott scored a converted try from a close-range pick and go down the left.

It proved to be the decisive moment as the Falcons’ frustration continues – a performance laden with heart and physicality just a whisker away from providing the first league win of the season

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Tom Penny, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Moroni (Louis Brown, 58), 12 Cameron Hutchison (Rory Jennings, 20), 11 Iwan Stephens, 10 Louie Johnson, 9 James Elliott (Hugh O’Sullivan, 72); 1 Phil Brantingham (Adam Brocklebank, 56), 2 Jamie Blamire (Bryan Byrne, 65), 3 Eduardo Bello (Murray McCallum, 60), 4 John Hawkins, 5 Kiran McDonald (Philip van der Walt, 56), 6 Pedro Rubiolo, 7 Guy Pepper (Sam Cross, 35), 8 Callum Chick (captain).

Scorers – Tries: Jamie Blamire, Matias Moroni. Conversions: Louie Johnson 2.

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Tommy Wyatt, 14 Immanuel Feyi-Waboso (Will Haydon-Wood, 10, Tom Hendrickson, 21), 13 Henry Slade, 12 Joe Hawkins, 11 Ben Hammersley, 10 Harvey Skinner, 9 Tom Cairns; 1 Scott Sio (Alec Hepburn, 48), 2 Jack Yeandle(Max Norey, 48), 3 Ehren Painter (Josh Iosefa-Scott, 48), 4 Rusi Tuima, 5 Dafydd Jenkins (captain), 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 7 Ethan Roots, 8 Aidon Davis (Ross Vintcent, 54, LewisPearson, 58)).

Scorers – Tries: Immanuel Feyi-Waboso, Henry Slade, Josh Iosefa-Scott. Conversions: Henry Slade. Penalties: Henry Slade.

Referee: Christophe Ridley. Attendance: 5,603.