Exeter 74-3 Newcastle: Chiefs raise hopes for home playoff semi-finals as England center Henry Slade lifts Covid storm to inspire a 12-try rout
- Braces from Slade and Vermeulen were among the dozen attempts on Sunday
- Their 74 points also equal the club’s best number in the top flight
- Victory for Exeter also saw them claim second place from Sale
Henry Slade’s revelation that he will turn down a Covid-19 vaccination caused a storm on social media, but England’s center spoke on the pitch on Sunday as Exeter hammered Newcastle.
Slade scored two of his side’s 12 tries and was man of the game when Rob Baxter’s men rebelled.
Slade – who has diabetes – has a different view of the coronavirus vaccination program than most, but everyone can certainly agree that he is a great talent.
Henry Slade (above) spoke on the field on Sunday as Exeter hammered Newcastle
The 28-year-old was personified when Exeter sent a real statement to the rest of the division with a result equal to their record domestic victory.
Chiefs coach Ali Hepher said: “The way Henry lets everyone around him play is phenomenal. He has one of the best rugby skills in the world. He also defends very well. Look at how he performed – that shows how good a character he is. He did his word in the field. ‘
Slade has missed the roster for this summer’s Lions tour of South Africa, but has little hope of making the trip when a member of Warren Gatland’s troupe retires.
Slade made no further comment on Covid, but said of his omission from Lions: “I was upset, but I tried to channel it properly and play for Exeter as best I could. I want to keep playing well to stay in the picture. ‘
Slade scored two of his party’s 12 tries and was the man of the match when Rob Baxter’s men revolted
Roared on by 3,200 fans excited to be back, the Chiefs were dominant from the first to the last. All that could save Newcastle was a Toby Flood penalty, while John Hardie got a yellow card.
Exeter scored five tries to reach halftime 31-3. Sam Skinner opened the scoring before Lion Sam Simmonds became the first player to score 20 tries in a Premiership season.
From that moment on, it was a blowout, as Slade and Jacques Vermeulen both scored twice. Alex Cuthbert, Joe Simmonds Dave Ewers, Stuart Hogg, Harvey Skinner and Tom O’Flaherty all dropped in as well.
Newcastle rugby director Dean Richards said: ‘We weren’t expecting miracles, but we were hoping for them. Exeter is my tip for the title. ‘
Jacques Vermeulen scored a brace when Chiefs took their biggest win in the league