Match Report

Exeter Chiefs - 10

Newcastle Falcons - 0

Friday 25th Nov 2022

A bruising first half had seen the Falcons leading 21-14 at the interval as both sets of forwards slugged it out, matching each other score for score until the final play of the opening 40.

The home side flew out of the blocks and had a seven-point lead in as many minutes, Brett Connon kicking a superb penalty to touch from a narrow angle to set up a line-out five metres out down the right.

A dextrous one-handed take from Sebastian de Chaves set the platform for a textbook driving maul, from which the familiar sight of George McGuigan grounding the ball was once again forthcoming.

Connon curled in the conversion from the right-hand side, but the sides were soon level when a close-range pick-and-go saw Chiefs lock Ruben van Heerden scoring near the posts.

Joe Simmonds slotted the simple conversion, but the home side led again midway through the half when Mateo Carreras stepped the last man to score in the left corner – a flowing move having been started by a rampaging midfield line-break from Adam Brocklebank.

Connon converted, his side missing an opportunity for further points when they turned down a kickable penalty in favour of a line-out from which they failed to score.

Exeter repeated the trick when they, too, kicked for the corner only for Newcastle to disrupt their maul – Callum Chick getting a big mit on the ball and refusing to let go.

The Chiefs had better luck with three minutes of the opening half remaining, kicking a penalty to the right corner for hooker Jack Yeandle to be driven over for a converted try.

But Newcastle snatched a 21-14 half-time lead with the very last play when a line-out drive was illegally halted in the left corner, but Guy Pepper scored from the advantage – breaking right through the middle of a close-range ruck for a try converted by Connon.

The Falcons’ attacking intent continued after the resumption, with half-time replacement Matias Orlando looking to offload – countryman Matias Moroni combining in a foray which sent Elliott Obatoyinbo and Carreras away in tandem for a break down the left.

The Chiefs defended the threat on that occasion, and it took the TMO to deny the Falcons a try on 51 minutes when Freddie Lockwood was just short in attempting to find the line with his first touch after coming on.

Newcastle finally made it a two-score game just after the hour mark when Connon smashed over a penalty from 40 metres out in front of the posts, earning the rewards for his team’s forward dominance.

Dogged defence from the home side kept the Devonians at arm’s length as Moroni stopped replacement Solomone Kata in his tracks with a superb ball-and-all tackle, but there was no halting Scott Sio when the Aussie veteran ploughed over from a pick-and-go in the right corner with six minutes remaining.

Simmonds’ conversion reduced the Falcons’ lead to three points, a margin which remained in tact until a relieving final whistle.

**Newcastle Falcons:** 15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Ben Stevenson (Adam Radwan, 67), 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Tom Penny (Matias Orlando, 40), 11 Mateo Carreras, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Michael Young (captain, Sam Stuart, 59); 1 Adam Brocklebank (Conrad Cade, 73), 2 George McGuigan, 3 Richard Palframan (Logovi’i Mulipola, 54), 4 Greg Peterson (Sean Robinson, 62), 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Callum Chick, 7 Guy Pepper (Jamie Blamire, 67), 8 Carl Fearns (Freddie Lockwood, 51).

**Scorers -** Tries: George McGuigan, Mateo Carreras, Guy Pepper. Conversions: Brett Connon 3. Penalties: Brett Connon.

**Exeter Chiefs:** 15 Josh Hodge, 14 Dan John, 13 Sean O’Brien (Solomone Kata, 58), 12 Ian Whitten, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Joe Simmonds, 9 Jack Maunder (Sam Maunder, 48); 1 Alec Hepburn (Scott Sio, 54), 2 Jack Yeandle (Dan Frost, 56, captain), 3 Harry Williams (Patrick Schickerling, 56), 4 Ruben Van Heerden, 5 Dafydd Jenkins, 6 Lewis Pearson, 7 Christ Tshiunza, 8 Jacques Vermeulen.

**Scorers -** Tries: Ruben van Heerden, Jack Yeandle, Scott Sio. Conversions: Joe Simmonds 3.

**Referee:** Karl Dickson. **Attendance:** 3,126.