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Match Report: Exeter Chiefs 36 Newcastle Falcons 5

19 May 2018
Match Report: Exeter Chiefs 36 Newcastle Falcons 5

Joe Simmonds kicked 19 points as reigning champions Exeter Chiefs booked a return to Twickenham with a 36-5 semi-final victory over Newcastle Falcons.

Nic White, Olly Woodburn and Don Armand got the tries at Sandy Park with the success extending 21-year-old Simmonds unbeaten stretch in the Exeter Chiefs senior team to 14 games.

The fly-half kicked five penalties and a conversion, with Alex Tait going over in vain for the Falcons, with the Chiefs facing Saracens in the Aviva Premiership Rugby final next weekend.

The Chiefs refused to give up possession throughout much of the first half hour going through 25 consecutive phases in the opening minutes.

But it took until 13 minutes for the Newcastle defence to be penalised when Sam Lockwood was penalised at the ruck and Simmonds got the first penalty of the afternoon.

Ten minutes later, and after another series of play which exceeded 20 phases, Simmonds was able to double the hosts’ advantage from the tee.

The Falcons continued to rely heavily on their defence, they surpassed 100 tackles after just 26 minutes, but their discipline eventually slipped on the half hour.

Evan Olmstead was shown a yellow card at the ruck after a break from Simmonds and Lachie Turner with the home side then moving 9-0 ahead through their fly-half.

The hosts eventually broke through the Falcons defence in the final moments of the half when Turner burst through the midfield from a Chiefs lineout.

With Exeter in the 22, a couple of phases allowed White to spot a gap and dive over underneath the posts from close range for the opening try.

Simmonds made no mistake with the conversion to give the reigning Aviva Premiership Rugby champions 16-0 to the good at the break.

The Chiefs continued to dominate possession and though Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Year Vereniki Goneva went close to an intercept the hosts got the opening score of the half.

Fly-half Simmonds was on target from 30 metres out, with the wind, to make the score 19-0 to the home side at Sandy Park after 47 minutes.

And the Exeter advantage was 22 points when the Chiefs number 10 knocked over his fifth penalty of the afternoon.

The Falcons eventually got themselves onto the board on 57 minutes when Tait took an excellent line off Toby Flood to dot down.

The champions responded as White exploited the short side at a scrum and fed Woodburn to finish brilliantly in the corner to make it 27-5 after an hour.

Stu Townsend thought he had a third Exeter try on 65 minutes but it was ruled out by the TMO for an infringement in the build-up.

Alex Tait was then inches away from a second try on the occasion of his 150th Aviva Premiership Rugby appearance but knocked-on in the process of putting the ball down.

Replacement Thomas Waldrom created the Chiefs third try with an break against the grain with Armand on hand to take the offload and dive over.

Armand was able to power over despite the attentions of Goneva for his seventh league try of the season, converted by Gareth Steenson.

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