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Chiefs storm into semi-finals

Exeter swept aside Newcastle 48-13 to set up a semi-final showdown with Gloucester in the inaugural European Challenge Cup.

The Chiefs outscored their opponents six tries to one at Sandy Park, with a David Ewers score and a penalty try helping the home side into a 17-6 half-time lead.

Exeter then added further tries through Thomas Waldrom, Byron McGuigan, Sam Hill and Dean Mumm after the break, with outclassed Newcastle only able to respond with a 68th-minute effort from Chris Harris and eight points from the boot of Tom Catterick.

The victory means Exeter will take on Gloucester at Kingsholm in two weeks' time for a place in the final against either Newport Gwent Dragons or the winner of Sunday's London Irish-Edinburgh encounter.

The hosts made a number of changes from the side that lost 25-18 at Leicester in the Premiership last weekend with McGuigan, Ben Moon, Tomas Francis and Tom James being drafted in.

The Chiefs were also forced into a late change with Damian Welch pulling-up in the warm-up so Ben White was promoted from the bench to play in the back row, skipper Mumm moved into the second row and Sam Skinner added to the replacements.

Newcastle, who lost 46-17 to Exeter in the Premiership last month, started with two changes in the backs from the side that narrowly lost at London Irish with Juan Pablo Socino in the centre and Harris on the right wing.

Both defences were tested in the opening 10 minutes but it was Exeter who made the first breakthrough just before the quarter-hour.

After the Falcons were forced to touch down over their own line, Exeter broke off the back of the five-metre scrum and Ewers barged over the line. Slade added the extras from out wide on the right and the Chiefs were under way.

Exeter increased their advantage midway through the half when wing Matt Jess, who was on course to score from a loose ball, was pulled back twice off the ball by full-back Alex Tait. Referee Marius Mitrea had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try - which Slade converted - and Tait went to the sin-bin.

Newcastle kept the Chiefs at bay while they were a man down and when they were back to full strength the visitors were awarded a penalty 12 metres out in front of the posts, which fly-half Catterick slotted over to get his side off the mark.

Slade and Catterick then swapped penalties to leave Exeter with an 11-point lead at the interval.

That soon became 18 points as just 45 seconds after the restart Ewers broke from inside his own half, shrugged off a couple of half tackles, before offloading to number eight Waldrom to stretch for the line.

Slade converted and, 12 minutes later, added his second penalty from 30 metres out to make it 27-6.

The Chiefs' fourth try came just before the hour-mark when Will Chudley chipped over the head of the defence and into the arms of McGuigan to go over, with Slade again adding the conversion.

The Falcons may have looked down and out but Harris rounded a couple of forwards to score a breakaway try under the posts with Catterick converting to cut the deficit to 34-13.

However, the Chiefs replied immediately through Hill to help restore their advantage and then Hill turned provider for Mumm to score the Chiefs' sixth and final try, with replacement fly-half Gareth Steenson converting both to cap a one-sided triumph.

From Belfast Telegraph