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'They took advantage of how sloppy we were... They were all over us'

By PA
Exeter head coach Ali Hepher. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Dave Walder was delighted with Newcastle Falcons’ attitude as they edged Exeter Chiefs 24-21 at Kingston Park.

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It was a constant ding-dong battle in the first half, with George McGuigan scoring his seventh try of the season from the back of the driving maul, before Ruben van Heerden bundled over for Chiefs.

Mateo Carreras and Jack Yeandle traded scores, before Guy Pepper’s try on the cusp of half-time gave Falcons the edge.

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Brett Connon’s penalty gave the home side a 24-14 lead, which proved decisive when Scott Sio dotted down and Falcons dug in to hold on for the win.

Falcons director of rugby Walder said: “It’s always nice to get a win like that to see our game plan come off.

“We’ve scored two tries this evening off the back of mauls and that is what we had been looking at.

“The tries put us into a good position and then towards the end we were able to dig in and showed a great attitude to get us over the line.

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“We spoke about a couple of areas that we needed to improve on at the interval, we felt really comfortable defensively and the only way that they got near us was through our lack of discipline.

“Guy Pepper and Carl Fearns were superb at the breakdown for us but on a couple of occasions we made poor decisions.

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“You know how Exeter will play and even though we had a 10-point lead with 20 minutes to play you still feel nervous.”

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Chiefs head coach Ali Hepher admitted the Falcons spirit and their control at the breakdown was the difference on the night as his side were forced to make the long journey home with a solitary point.

He said: “Fair play to Newcastle, we knew that their spirit would be high, and they took advantage of how sloppy we were at the breakdown.

“They were all over us and even though you know that’s how they play, there’s little you can do when you are conceding penalties.

“They got into the game early and scored some early scores and as a result gained more confidence, so you have to give them full credit for that.

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“We have to look at the number of penalties we gave away. You don’t mind the ones where you are fighting hard but some of them were just crazy.

“We were a bit mindless at times and that increases the error rate and so we lose any rhythm.

“We need to go away and have a look at ourselves and the individual contributions.

“Overall, it’s the basic errors that have cost us and ended up hurting us in basic areas of the game.”

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