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Fijian Paul too much for Aldershot and Fleet
Updated 3:49pm Wednesday 6th March 2013 in Rugby
Andover 45 Aldershot and Fleet 14.
Andover returned to winning ways at the Goodship Ground with a resounding Hampshire 1 victory over a physical Aldershot and Fleet.
The visitors were fresh from a win themselves the previous week over Southampton and with a strong Army contingent back from Afghanistan expected to cause Andover real trouble with their power and fitness.
The young All Blacks, however, more than matched them in both departments and, thanks in part to a much-loved soldier of their own, eventually ran riot.
Paul Tuinsakea or ‘Fijiian Paul’ as he is known at the club, was in awesome form and it was his power, mixed with great finesse for a big man, that insipred Andover to a superb win.
Coach Andy Waite was very happy, but not just with Tuinsakea.
“Paul was fantastic today and showed why he has been so badly missed, but the whole team were excellent,” he said. “‘The performances of new boys, Craig Snook, Ash Gait and Sam Earle, show how this young side is developing.
“For me, seeing prop Alex Hibdidge still charging 40 metres with the ball in hand in the last minute, sums up the spirit we now have.” From the kick-off Tuinsakea showed his intent and with youngsters Matt Moore and Aaron Hatcher also prominent throughout, Andover were just too much for their opponents.
Behind their normal dominant scrum Andover pressed and, after Dave Catt narrowly missed an opening, Jack Stott slotted an early penalty to give them the lead.
With just ten minutes gone it got even better as a good line out led to Tuinsakea storming through in midfield and offloading to James Dawson who set full back Dan Pearson in the clear to score.
Stott was wide with the difficult conversion, but soon made amends with another penalty awarded after great work from Simon Preece and Tom Waite. Andover seemed in complete control, but Aldershot had other ideas and with ten minutes to go in the half shook Andover with a try from a driving lineout, followed minutes later by a further score after a defensive error. With both conversions successful Andover found themselves suprisingly behind. Stung into a response, Andover powered forward and Tuinsakea scored a brilliant individual try converted by Stott.
On half-time the impressive Alex Kane interchanged with Catt for another fine try, again converted by Stott to send Andover into the break in complete control.
From the restart Andover were at it again.
Kane broke from a scrum and after a fine sprint fed Hatcher on the insde to score another converted try. Soon after Tuinsakea should have extended the lead, but dropped the ball over the line with the defence beaten.
Stott kept the scorebord ticking with another penalty, but the game then became scrappy as Aldershot lost discipline and tried to disrupt Andover with some robust tactics.
A yellow card followed for the visitors for deliberate foul play and then a red as the referee spotted a blatant punching offence.
Andover stayed calm and made Aldershot pay in the best way possible with two more excellent tries.
Tuinsakea made amends with his second and then Catt finally got the try he deserved after more great work from Dawson and Pearson.
On Saturday Andover travel to high fliers Fordingbridge for what should be a mouth watering clash.
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