Match reaction: Exeter Chiefs 16-3 Newcastle Falcons

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Saturday 21 December 2013 – 3.00pm

Sandy Park, Exeter

Aviva Premiership #10

 

I think I’m running out of new things to say. I suppose a positive from yesterday’s game was that when the Falcons got into the Exeter half they went for the corner rather than taking shots at goal, so there is some variation there.

 

Not all away fans were happy with this approach but my thought was that kicking hasn’t worked so far and it might be a long time before we get back into the opposition 22, so we might as well go for seven points. The problem was some butchered lineouts and handling errors that led to attacks breaking down.

 

Not enough quality, too predictable movement in the backs. Silly penalties conceded by languishing in the breakdown despite repeated whistles. Exeter are a good side but yesterday they didn’t need to be very good, they had to be competent in defence and wait for us to run out of ideas or make a mistake, then break quickly upfield. The difference in speed between the two three-quarter lines was stark.

 

It is a blessing that our defence continues to be very strong and the excellent Haydn Thomas only scored because a lapse in our concentration left a little gap beside the posts. It was enough though to ensure the Chiefs’ victory and they probably knew that.

 

That’s now four league games without a try. Interestingly, for all of our lauding of our forwards, of the sixteen tries the Falcons have scored in all competitions this season, only three have come from the pack – Scott Lawson at Brive, Richard Mayhew in the cup against London Irish and Chris York at home to Calvisano. There was a penalty try against Calvisano too but down to just single players, only three scores have been finished off by forwards.

 

That is fifteen points scored in the last four Premiership games, and 109 conceded. An average of 27-4, if we round up and down. There are two home games coming up that should be winnable but we need to approach them with the mindset that we can win and we want to win, rather than being content with defending and trying to break, which hasn’t worked.

 

Fair enough we created a few chances yesterday but we weren’t good enough to finish them. That isn’t going to be solved in a week but if we create more chances then the odds of scoring one increase.

 

We really need to give the fans a show on Friday night though if there is to be any hope of a repeated high attendance against Sale, and the two hard-sell Thursday nights coming up in Europe. The natives are restless.

 

(Follow The South Stand Choir on Twitter: @SouthStandChoir)

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