Exeter Chiefs vs Newcastle Falcons Predictions: Chiefs to boss Sandy Park showdown

 | March 23 | 

3 mins read

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The Premiership returns, and the two-month break throws up the possibility of upsets as the players reacquaint themselves.

It arguably came at the right time for the Exeter Chiefs, who lost first to Bayonne and then Saracens before the hiatus. Their youngsters then lost to eventual champions Gloucester in the semi-finals of the Premiership Rugby Cup.

Newcastle hoped to have turned a corner after recording their first win of the season in the Challenge Cup away in Perpignan but were then outclassed by Northampton in their last game.

The Falcons made a notable move in January by appointing Steve Diamond as consultant director of rugby and he will have spent the last few weeks drilling his squad, as evidenced by their friendly victory over Sale.

Can they cause an upset at Sandy Park? The statistics suggest not. Rob Baxter's side have lost just once at home this season and should romp home again.

Exeter Chiefs vs Newcastle Falcons Tips

  • Exeter Chiefs - 22 @ EVS

Team news

England's Henry Slade and Wales' Dafydd Jenkins are given the weekend off, while Immanuel Feyi-Waboso remains sidelined through concussion protocols and Scotland's Alec Hepburn is also out for Exeter.

Ethan Roots comes straight back in after featuring for the Red Rose and Italy number eight Ross Vintcent will hope to fulfil an impact role from the bench.

Newcastle have selected Brett Connon at fly-half, while Ben Douglas, fresh from helping England under-20s to their Six Nations crown, is in line for his Premiership debut after being named among the replacements.

Match odds

Exeter are the 1/20 favourites, with the Falcons 11/1 to grab their first win of the season and a tie available at 40/1.

The 3-way Handicap is set at -22 in the EVS Chiefs' favour, while the hosts are 10/3 to win by 1-12 points, as was the case in the reverse game.

Exeter Chiefs - 22 @ EVS

It's been a tough season for Newcastle, but as what happened with La Liga side Almeria, who finally won for the first time this season last Sunday, the pressure may now be on their opponents not to 'do a Las Palmas' and be the first side to succumb to the bottom team.

Ever the pragmatist, Diamond may start using that angle but it may not work down at Sandy Park, a ground where the Falcons have only ever won once.

With relegation unlikely due to the situation in the Championship, the Tynesiders may start looking towards next year by blooding youngsters and trying fresh combinations.

Exeter already conducted their overhaul last summer and their academy stars have slipped straight into senior rugby with minimal fuss.

The hosts start the round fifth in the Premiership table but that is predominantly due to their away form as they have lost four of their six away matches, while they have the best home record in the division.

The Devonians are the highest scorers in the competition so far and could go big again.

ExeterChiefs-22

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