Exeter dominate Northampton, Newcastle crush Leicester
PREMIERSHIP SATURDAY WRAP: Exeter bounced back from a five-try drubbing by Premiership leaders Saracens last weekend to sweep Northampton aside 35-12 at Sandy Park on Saturday.
The Chiefs’ bonus-point success lifted them to fifth in the table after first-half tries from No.8 Sam Simmonds, wing Olly Woodburn and hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie put them in control.
Cowan-Dickie added a second try after the break, although he then gave new England head coach Steve Borthwick an injury scare four weeks from the Six Nations when he limped off after appearing to hurt his ankle.
Centre Henry Slade also scored, while flyhalf Joe Simmonds kicked five conversions, with Saints restricted to tries from Fraser Dingwall and Matt Proctor, plus a George Furbank conversion.
The result leaves Exeter just one point adrift of the top four but Northampton once again underlined a chronic lack of consistency, suffering a comprehensive reversal just six days after crushing Harlequins 46-17.
Earlier, Mateo Carreras scored a first-half hat-trick as Newcastle blitzed champions Leicester 45-26.
The Argentine’s contribution – along with a Callum Chick try – came in a blistering opening 40 minutes for the northeast side, with Ben Youngs’ score the only bright point for the blunt visitors.
Ollie Chessum went over after the break for the Tigers to reduce the deficit, but a Brett Connon penalty and tries from Jamie Blamire and Matias Moroni ensured a thoroughly deserved victory for the home side despite Jimmy Gopperth and Sean Jansen efforts, which earned a bonus point for Leicester.
It was a great day for the Falcons’ Argentine contingent, with Moroni and Matias Orlando superb in midfield and Carreras unstoppable in attack.
“Mateo will get the headlines for his unbelievable finishes, but the two Argentines in the centre gave us a bit of defensive solidity,” said Newcastle coach Dave Walder.
“I think as a combination across the board we all put our hand up today and I think everybody had a good game which is ultimately what you need against Leicester.”
The scores and scorers:
Exeter 35-12 Northampton
Tries: S Simmonds, Woodburn, Cowan-Dickie 2, Slade
Cons: J Simmonds 5
Tries: Dingwall, Proctor
Newcastle 45-26 Leicester
Tries: Carreras 3, Chick, Blamire, Moroni
Cons: Connon 6
Tries: B Youngs, Chessum, Gopperth, Jansen
Cons: Atkinson 3
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) January 7, 2023