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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Tom O'Flaherty can touch down for Exeter

Newcastle should push the Chiefs

Thomas Waldrom is a tryscoring threat for Exeter
1 of 1

Anglo-Welsh Cup semi-final
BT Sport 2, 1pm Sunday

Premiership champions Exeter are odds-on to reach their third successive Anglo-Welsh Cup final by beating Newcastle at Sandy Park but there is no way that the Chiefs and their savvy head coach Rob Baxter will be expecting an easy passage.

Exeter are leading the league again but the Falcons are flying high in fourth, are in the quarter-finals of the European Challenge Cup and have been scoring freely in this competition with 21 tries and 141 points notched in three wins.

They boast the best away record in the Premiership with six wins out of nine and their only Anglo-Welsh defeat came at Bath, who booked their berth in next Sunday's final at Kingsholm with a tense 13-12 success over Northampton at the Rec on Friday.

Unlike Baxter, Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards has the luxury of naming nearly a full-strength team as he has few Six Nations stars and has had little hesitation in bringing back his best half-back performers Sonatale Takalua and Toby Flood in order to control the tempo of their possession.

But it will be a surprise if international-class outside backs Niki Goneva, Maxime Mermoz, Josh Matavesi and Sinoti Sinoti are not used regularly given that Exeter's defensive structures have been breached regularly in three of their four Anglo-Welsh games.

However, bookmakers look right to expect the Chiefs to find a way to prevail through their powerful pack and direct-running backs. Take right wing Tom O'Flaherty to claim a fourth competition try. He bagged a brace at home to Saracens and also touched down at home to Northampton and scored four tries in five outings for Ospreys last season.

Castres get a two-point start from hosts Stade Francais in the televised Top 14 clash.

Recommendation
T O'Flaherty to score a try
1pt 11-5 BoyleSports

Already advised on November 3
Exeter to win Anglo-Welsh Cup
2pts each-way 6-1 Hills


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O'Flaherty bagged a brace at home to Saracens and also touched down at home to Northampton
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