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Match Report: Newcastle Falcons 17-24 Exeter Chiefs

21 Sep 2018
Match Report: Newcastle Falcons 17-24 Exeter Chiefs

The Simmonds brothers combined for 17 points as table-toppers Exeter Chiefs maintained their 100 per cent start to the Gallagher Premiership Rugby season with a hard-fought 24-17 win at Newcastle Falcons.

For the first time this term, the Chiefs failed to secure a four-try bonus point but they did ensure that the Falcons – who have just one victory through the first four rounds of action – have now lost three games in a row at Kingston Park for the first time since December 2015.

Zach Kibirige got the Falcons off to a flyer and although Sam Simmonds’ two close-range scores – added to by the boot of younger brother Joe – put the Chiefs ahead, Johnny Williams crossed to draw the sides level heading into the final quarter.

But Matt Kvesic dotted down what proved to be the decisive score with 15 minutes left and the Chiefs held firm for a repeat result of last season’s semi-final between the sides.

A late change to the Falcons line-up saw Alex Tait drop out to be replaced by Kibirige and the winger took less than two minutes to make his mark.

Williams collected a loose pass and then produced a scintillating offload out of the back of his hand which released his team-mate to outpace one defender and cut inside Joe Simmonds to score.

Toby Flood slotted the conversion, as he did with a penalty two minutes before the break but in between, the Simmonds brothers racked up 14 points for Exeter.

Sam produced a close-range pick and go from a ruck in the corner on seven minutes and dived over before the No.8 then guided a 33rd-minute driving maul over the line from a five-metre lineout – brother Joe converting both scores.

When Gary Graham was pinged for a dangerous tackle early in the second period, the younger Simmonds added three points from the tee but Newcastle ensured the sides went into the final quarter level at 17-17.

Inside the Chiefs 22, Flood looped a pass to Tom Arscott on the right touchline and his pop inside to Williams allowed the centre to slide over the whitewash before Flood did the honours from the tee.

However, the Falcons fly-half was sent to the sin-bin on 63 minutes and Exeter immediately took advantage, showing off what is perhaps the most effective driving maul in Gallagher Premiership Rugby once more to chug over from eight metres out – Kvesic the man at the bottom of the pile.

The conversion saw Gareth Steenson move within 20 points of 1,500 in Premiership Rugby and the Falcons were unable to respond in the final 15 minutes, eventually settling for a losing bonus point by booting the ball into the Kingston Park stands.