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Exeter cruise to comfortable win on back of impressive first half

Published 01/11/2015

Gareth Steenson was on fine kicking form in Exeter's win over Newcastle
Gareth Steenson was on fine kicking form in Exeter's win over Newcastle

Exeter dismissed any hopes Newcastle might have had of a repeat of their Kingston Park win over the Chiefs just over a year ago with a comprehensive 41-3 victory.

Exeter's win featured a dynamic first half that yielded a try bonus point after just half an hour of this Aviva Premiership encounter.

The Chiefs went on to score five first-half tries as they built a 31-3 lead and added another in a much less effective second period when both sides made a host of changes.

There were two tries for number eight Don Armand, one for Julian Salvi on his first start for Exeter and one each for Will Chudley, against his former club, Matt Jess and Moray Low.

Gareth Steenson kicked four conversions and a late penalty, with Newcastle's only points coming from the boot of Mike Delany early on.

The Falcons were actually the first side on the scoreboard with Delany slotting over a fifth-minute penalty awarded for not rolling way, but the lead did not last long.

The hosts found themselves in an all too familiar scenario when they conceded two tries in the first 15 minutes.

Exeter scrum-half Chudley charged down Delany's attempted clearance kick to score the first try against his former club just 60 seconds after Delany's penalty. Captain Steenson's conversion put the Chiefs 7-3 up.

Some excellent pick and drives and two comprehensive rolling mauls, the second from a lineout in the corner, then ended with flanker Salvi driven over for a try on his fist start for the Chiefs. Steenson again converted.

Salvi could have had a second when Henry Slade cut through but the flanker could not hold onto the pass as the England centre was floored inside the 22 and Newcastle cleared.

Steenson demonstrated Exeter's dominance as early as the 22nd minute when he spurned a kick at goal, putting the penalty into the corner instead and the Exeter pack drove it up to the line.

When Chudley was denied, Armand snapped it up to dive over for his first try to make it 19-3.

Newcastle tried to do the same, kicking successive penalties to the corner, but while Alex Tait and Delany both went close the Falcons did not have anything like the efficiency of Exeter in the red zone.

It came as no surprise when the Chiefs snuffed out both attacks and then swiftly scored their bonus point try with full-back Phil Dollman surging away.

With a two-on-one Falcons full-back Simon Hammersley had no chance of stopping wing Jess scoring on his 100th Premiership appearance.

Armand grabbed his second and Exeter's fifth try after a little piece of Slade magic with a cutback and inside pass for the big number eight to score under the post and Steenson then gave the Chiefs a 31-3 lead at the break.

The Falcons opted for a more direct running approach in the second half rather than kicking the ball and they also changed their whole front row early in the period, bringing on Argentinian centre Belisario Agulla for his debut.

It seemed Agulla had made an almost immediate impact, taking Tait's inside pass to cross in the 53rd minute, but referee Ian Tempest decided there had been a knock-on early in the move after looking at the big screen.

Agullo was certainly having a go and he broke clear again to find number eight Ally Hogg but the big back row simply did not have the pace to make it to line.

Hogg tried to find Hammersley with an inside pass and that allowed Exeter to get back and turn the ball over at the breakdown.

The Chiefs worked the ball into midfield, kicked a penalty to the corner from halfway and drove prop Low over for their sixth try which was converted by Steenson.

Newcastle winger Giovanbattista Venditti crossed with 10 minutes left but this time the referee judged Tom Catterick's long pass to be forward.

Steenson took Exeter past the 40-point mark with a penalty which was roundly greeted by boos from the 5,160 crowd.

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