Fal­cons fail to stick to script as Chiefs show who is the boss

Sunday Sun - - Rugby -

South Africa re­stored pride but could not deny New Zealand a sixth suc­ces­sive win in the Rugby Cham­pi­onship.

Last month, the All Blacks ham­mered their op­po­nents 57-0, but this time out, just one point sep­a­rated the sides in Cape Town as New Zealand held on to win 25-24.

Af­ter an early penalty for both sides, the All Blacks re­sponded to fierce South Africa pres­sure by go­ing 8-3 ahead through Ryan Crotty’s try.

South Africa pulled back to 15-15, with tries from Ross Cronje and Jean-Luc du Preez sand­wich­ing one from Rieko Ioane.

Damian McKen­zie then crossed again for New Zealand, who scored an ul­ti­mately de­ci­sive penalty from Lima Sopoaga af­ter Damian de Al­lende was shown a red card for el­bow­ing the All Blacks fly-half.

But the Spring­boks made it a nail-bit­ing fin­ish with a try from the ex­cel­lent Mal­colm Marx, con­verted by El­ton Jan­tjies. IT is a mea­sure of New­cas­tle’s progress that di­rec­tor of rugby Dean Richards was not over­joyed with his team’s per­for­mance as they went down to a bonus-point de­feat at Ex­eter Chiefs.

Ex­eter re­turned to win­ning ways to beat the high-fly­ing Fal­cons 34-24 at Sandy Park.

Nic White, Lachie Turner and Sam Sim­monds scored Ex­eter’s tries. There was also a penalty try award with Gareth Steen­son con­vert­ing all three and adding two penal­ties.

Will Welch, Alex Tait, Vereniki Goneva and Juan Pablo So­cino scored tries for New­cas­tle, with Toby Flood adding two con­ver­sions.

While Richards doesn’t see much rel­e­vance in the fact Ex­eter took his side’s place at the top of the Pre­mier­ship ta­ble, he was more in­ter­ested by the man­ner of de­feat.

“We are a bit frus­trated by our in­ac­cu­ra­cies as it was an odd sort of a game. We didn’t stick to script and went off-piste,” he said.

“We prac­tise re­peat­edly how to de­fend a rolling maul but they scored eas­ily from one with DTH (van der Merwe) pick­ing up a yel­low card.

“There was a lack of ac­cu­racy, which high­lighted where we are at present. We are im­prov­ing but to­day it was a case of three steps for­ward and one back.” Don Ar­mand of Ex­eter Chiefs (cen­tre) is

New­cas­tle dom­i­nated the open­ing five min­utes and should have taken the lead but their cen­tre, So­cino, lost the ball in the tackle as he drove for the line from a 5m scrum.

The visi­tors were made to pay for their waste­ful­ness as White sniped over from close range.

Steen­son con­verted be­fore kick­ing a sim­ple penalty to give his side a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quar­ter.

Chiefs suf­fered a blow when Now­ell left the field with a cut but some deft foot­work from White skil­fully cre­ated an easy run-in for Turner, who had only just switched to the wing in Now­ell’s ab­sence.

Af­ter 31 min­utes, Fal­cons got on the score sheet when Welch forced his way over from a driv­ing line-out but Sonatane

Alex Tait is tack­led by Ex­eter’s Ian Whit­ten(L) and Nic White

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