Premiership: Exeter Chiefs beat struggling Newcastle Falcons 35-17 to return top

Olly Woodburn scores a try for Exeter against Newcastle
Olly Woodburn scored a try for Exeter on his return from injury
English Premiership
Exeter (21) 35
Tries: Cordero, Yeandle, Woodburn, White, Holmes Cons: Steenson 5
Newcastle (7) 17
Tries: Takulua, Kibirige 2 Con: Flood

Exeter Chiefs reclaimed top spot in the Premiership and also piled the pressure on bottom-placed Newcastle Falcons.

Five tries from Exeter moved them four points clear of second-placed Saracens as they bounced back from defeat by Gloucester last Friday.

Santiago Cordero, Jack Yeandle and Olly Woodburn scored in the first half around Tane Takulua's try for Falcons.

Nic White and Greg Holmes added two more Exeter tries, while Zach Kibirige bagged a consolation brace.

There was not enough time for Falcons to find a fourth try for a bonus point and they remain five points adrift at the foot of the table after five successive defeats.

That deficit could lengthen with second from bottom Worcester hosting Leicester on Sunday.

Newcastle winger Kibirige had an afternoon of mixed fortunes despite his two tries.

His first-half yellow card for a deliberate knock-on saw him sin-binned and allowed Chiefs winger Woodburn space to cross on the left.

Exeter ensured their indifferent form of three defeats from five coming into the game was put to one side with the win.

And once full-back Cordero and hooker Yeandle bagged their first two tries inside the opening 16 minutes, they didn't look in trouble.

Exeter head coach Ali Hepher told BBC Radio Devon:

"It's nice to really see a performance that we can be really proud of. The guys poured a lot into that and got their rewards.

"It was a proper contest and we had enough resilience about us to keep going and keep picking up the tries.

"Newcastle may be bottom, but they still need stopping and dealing with.

"We got our strike runners on the ball and our wingers got us on the front foot to set up a platform and our forwards were really direct too."

Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards:

"The boys stuck at it well but both sides threw away three or four good scoring chances. It's a very difficult place to come and our execution could have been better.

"Defensively, we were pretty strong but we were a bit naive in the first half when they attacked the short side.

"It didn't help when we lost a few forwards in the first 20 minutes, which caused us disruption as some people had to play a full 80 minutes."

Exeter Chiefs: Cordero; Cuthbert, Whitten, Devoto, Woodburn; Steenson, White; Hepburn, Yeandle (capt), Holmes, Dennis, Hill, Ewers, Armand, Kvesic.

Replacements: Innard, Keast, Street, Lees, Lonsdale, Maunder, J Simmonds, Hill.

Newcastle Falcons: Hammersley; Kibirige, Harris, Williams, Sinoti; Flood, Takulua; Lockwood, McGuigan, Wilson, Green, Davidson, Welch (capt), Hardie, Chick.

Replacements: Socino, Mulipola, Payne, Witty, Nagusa, Stuart, Swiel, Stevenson.

Sin-bin: Kibirige (23 mins)

Referee: Luke Pearce.

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