Thomas Waldrom’s tenth try of the Aviva Premiership Rugby season clinched a first-half bonus point as Exeter Chiefs coasted to a comfortable victory over Newcastle Falcons.
The league’s leading try-scorer added to Jack Nowell and Henry Slade efforts as well as a penalty try to send Exeter into the break 32-3 ahead at Sandy Park.
Newcastle had picked up try bonus points in each of their last six outings in all competitions and Ruki Tipuna and Will Welch each scored after half-time.
However, Phil Dollman and Haydn Thomas crossed over in quick succession on the hour mark to put the gloss on a clinical display and bring to an end – in emphatic style – a four-match losing run in Aviva Premiership Rugby.
Slade – handed the No.10 shirt by head coach Rob Baxter – opened the scoring inside three minutes, sending a penalty between the uprights after a bright start for the hosts.
The Chiefs showed no signs of slowing down and with just ten minutes on the clock, Nowell was over the line for the game’s opening try.
Ian Whitten broke down the right and once the ball was recycled and spread to the other flank the England winger – starting at outside centre once again for Exeter – finished clinically, Slade converting.
Tom Catterick kicked the Falcons’ first points just a couple of minutes later, after Exeter were pinged at the breakdown, but Slade returned the favour with his second penalty halfway through the opening 40.
Alesana Tuilagi and Catterick each made good ground as Newcastle ventured forward in search of their first try, but a handling error halted their progress and they were soon punished.
Despite an overthrown Luke Cowan-Dickie lineout, Exeter got hands on the ball and found Slade to cross over – through his conversion flew wide.
A powerful Chiefs scrum drove towards the line in search of a third try and the prolific Waldrom looked certain to pile over, only to be halted just shy of the whitewash.
After Waldrom powered to the line once more, referee Thomas Foley signalled for a penalty try and Slade made it 25-3 just five minutes before the break.
But the powerful No.8 didn’t have to wait long for a try of his own, crashing over after a well-executed lineout to secure the bonus point before half time – Slade adding the extras.
A quiet start to the second period saw a quarter of an hour pass without either side adding a point, but Tipuna broke the deadlock for the Falcons.
The replacement scrum-half showed great anticipation to charge down a Thomas clearance and dive on the ball, Catterick slotting the resulting conversion.
Dollman ensured Newcastle’s joy was short-lived, the full-back finishing off a flowing Chiefs move and Slade converting, before Thomas made amends for his earlier mistake with Exeter’s sixth try.
The experienced scrum-half darted over from close range and Gareth Steenson – on for Slade at fly-half – added the extras.
Welch grabbed a consolation try for Newcastle in the closing stages, which Catterick converted, but the game was already well won.
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