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|Volume 2, Week 31|
|Brilliant! Wow isn’t
fantastic to see the amount of hype generated by the Currie Cup? If
anybody thought the competition is watered down and lack excitement the
past weekend was an eye opener as far as survival of the fittest is
concerned. And no, this is not a revolutionary thesis a la Darwin (with
apologies to the Royal Society!) I’m talking of the performances of the
smaller, poorer unions of South Africa.|
After singing the praises last week of the competition champions and favourites, Western Province the famous Cape Town team almost met their match in a committed Falcons outfit. The men from the East Rand did not give an inch and with a kind bounce or two and a decision here or there could have won the match. Nail biting stuff it was and the Newlands faithful left the ground relieved and surprisingly, only after the final whistle!
The after match press conference was one of the more entertaining rugby affairs this correspondent had the privilege to attend, Falcon’s coach Pieter De Villiers is quite a charismatic figure and his use of analogy and euphemisms was refreshing. Not unlike Eric Cantona with his philosophic excerpts Pieter had some beautiful stories to tell but the saddest came from captain Braam Els in an almost sardonic plea for sponsorship. Here was a team that ran the “best” team in the competition close, a team who has a great chance of playing in the Top 8 and in next year’s Super 6 and they do so without a sponsor! They are not alone, there are plenty of unions in similar dire straights but unfortunately it is a fact of life that the rich will get richer and the poor get the picture!
The Sharks played a much-improved game and one of the heartening aspects of their victory was the team effort and the willingness to pass the ball, unlike last week when bad option taking cost them points. Admittedly the Pumas are not the strongest team in the comp however they ran the Lions ragged a fortnight ago. One more positive from this match was the performance of Mark Andrews, John Smit and Butch James – all three played a big part in a good victory. This weekend against the Gauteng Lions a few current and old Springboks will be measured against each other.
Butchie may be back and his return to form is already sparking a debate around the coveted no 10 position for the Springboks, Andre Pretorius, Werner Greeff, Brent Russell – when last did South Africa have quality players vying for this position? Yummie! As a matter of fact I need to agree with a certain sage that the following 10-12-13 line-up in the backline for the Springboks could do the trick; Pretorius, Greeff, Joubert although Butch might just be the answer to the inside centre position similar to the job Aaron Mauger is performing so successfully for the All Blacks. He possesses great defence, a menacing presence and sublime hands; add to that his tactical kicking prowess and it adds an extra dimension to the position.
The Eagles almost provided another upset over the high flying Bulls from Pretoria, the game was “marred” by a strange incident where by two props were injured and Mr. Watson had little choice but to order uncontested scrums. This negated the Bulls’ strongpoint and it became nothing more than a “scrumruns” exercise, now this should be ideal for any coach as this is how backline and many other moves are worked out, before the scrum is disrupted etc. but the Bulls seem to rely so much upon forward power that without it, seem planless. Fair enough if that is their tactics but when suddenly faced with the “unthinkable” there was no plan B in place!
The Eagle supporters were miffed by yet another controversial decision this time arguably costing them a place in the next round. The incident is highly debatable and I’m sure have been at length but to be honest, refereeing decisions are attracting so much publicity it is time to move on, yes but,
but… I agree there is was and will be some shocking decisions however we
as supporters can moan all we want, the decision was made and we need to
move on. Justice will take its course; they (referees) are assessed for
performance and fitness etc. continuously and with all the current
pressures they will as paid employees bear the consequences of their
actions and with time these evaluations might even become public
knowledge. What should rather become a chant amongst supporters is
consistency in application but that said; supporters must learn the rules
and only then with facts intact and not with the benefit of slowmo and
commentator’s judgments, cry prejudice. Nuff said but yes it is a
heartbreaking situation for those on the short end of the
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|Like a stuck record by Tom Marcellus|
enjoyed what I thought was a spectacular success on Sunday, while I was
browsing through a second-hand bookshop in Joburg. I came across an
autographed copy of "Tot Siens to Test Rugby", which is the
autobiography of the great HSV Muller, the scourge of the '49 All Blacks –
known throughout the rugby world in his day as "Die
Although Muller was never going to trouble the judges at the Pulitzer Prize, the book is an enjoyable read, and provides a valuable insight to the armchair aficionado into the mind of a player who, at his peak, bestrode the rugger world like a colossus. It tells of Muller's many trials, tribulations and triumphs: his spartan upbringing as an orphan in the Free State, his initial, hesitant introduction to the game that he was to play with such distinction for many years, the back-breaking hardship of his stints as a manual labourer on the mines, and, ultimately, his glorious ascendancy to the captaincy of het Springbokken.
His was not the tale of the molly-coddled, scented young toff, churned out by English public schools at the time, and it can safely be said that Muller was born with the proverbial wooden spoon in his mouth. Of course, those were different times, and Muller's youth was typical of that of many boys in the years around the Second World War. Even so, it is evident from his book that, throughout those tough times, as his fortunes – both literal and sporting – ebbed and flowed, Muller displayed the grim determination that was a hallmark of his on-field endeavours as the original psychotic number 8.
Muller played rugby for keeps because rugby, the glory of the Green 'n Gold, and winning, were important things in his life. As a player, the Windhond had it all: speed, aggression, anticipation, handling, stamina and an unbelievable determination to give everything in every game. By his own admission, he even stopped speaking to his wife 3 days before an important test match because he was too busy scoring tries in his head to be able to afford chit-chats. His marauding play in the loose and teeth-rattling tackles were legendary, and many a young opposing centre heard first a sudden pounding of boots, only to be followed by an unexpected steam-rollering by a blonde blur.
As I contemplated, once again, the greatness of this player, whom I never saw don his boots in anger and who, in fact, died when I was only 6 years old, I couldn't help think of all the fine players who momentarily flutter across our TV screens on Saturday afternoons, only to soon disappear into well-fed, lucrative obscurity in some English town or cobbled Italian village. Now is "silly season", I'm told, when overseas scouts arrive in our back-yard, intent on luring some of our more, ahem, vulnerable players with a walletful of greenbacks. While I cannot ever begrudge a person for trying to earn a decent buck, isn't a pity when a player who may even be on the brink of joining Bok rugby's immortals, sacrifices this chance for the proverbial 30 pieces of silver? But then maybe I'm just a dribbling sentimentalist, and should rather go and find a tree to hug.
It certainly is a shame that all those magnificent players from years ago – the Mullers, Cravens and Du Preezs – were not able to enjoy the wealth that they were so rightly due. I have little doubt that Muller, for his efforts, would have liked to have earned a shekel or two, but, even so, one has to wonder what he would have made of the glamour-boy professionals of today. Humph. He, Polla, Danie, Boy and the other old hands are probably grumbling about it right now, to the gentle strains of harp music.
Join the OFFICIAL SPRINGBOK SUPPORTERS CLUB by contacting 021-438-8185 during office hours or mail email@example.com and take advantage of special offers, members discounts and great competitions and prizes!!
|A Simple Case of Extortion by Desmond Organ|
|There is something quite unique about being an expatriate South
African; and being ripped off by fellow countryman abroad or at home
should not be part of the mix. It seems that organizations and countryman
alike are all too quick to take advantage of that common
Following my initial relocation to Atlanta in the United States I quite expected to meet a fair number of fellow countrymen as the location is an “expat Mecca”. On arriving one glorious Sunday afternoon for a barbecue, sorry braaivleis, I was amazed at the variety of stalls on display. Within minutes I had met a fellow who was quite anxious to sell me a car and to arrange the finance and the insurance and then there was the doctor and the lawyer and the racists and so on and so on….
By the end of the afternoon I was quite disgusted by the lack of genuine concern for my well being in a foreign community, I should have known better than to expect a soft landing, but it was a lesson well learnt and one which is not easily forgotten.
Around a year and a half ago the Springbok Supporters Club was launched and franchises were offered to people in all four corners of the globe. A great opportunity or so I thought; to arrange for meetings with fellow South Africans. This had to be the real deal, a way to rekindle the spirit of South African rugby in a foreign land. A year later and the clubs have been re-launched as the Official Springbok Supporters Club with only the UK franchise surviving.
A reliable source confirmed that the UK club survived because they had paid a “substantial” fee for the right to the franchise and because a two year contract was signed. Apparently none of the other clubs have had their contracts renewed and the only way to be an “official supporter” is to sign up through the “Official” Springbok Supporters Club which was the Springbok Supporters Club a year ago. Thankfully few of my foreign friends have asked me why what was official a year ago is no longer so.
What is most concerning is not the fact that there has been a change in approach, surely as a result of the report compiled by Accenture, but the fact that SA Rugby (Pty) Ltd has arguably used several expatriates in the process. I am sure that a fair amount of market research in terms of membership etc, etc was carried out on behalf of an organization that has done an about turn in eighteen months. The reward for the expats, including those in the UK is to be charged an exorbitant fee for benefits that can at this stage only be realistically exercised in South Africa or the UK.
The last time I paid $ 85 for a mouse pad and 4 magazines, a cap, a shirt and a member’s badge they were a lot more interesting than what is being offered. So what if there are events involving the Springboks in South Africa and the UK? This does not help anyone living in the other parts of the globe! It may not make market sense to run a global club at this stage but to stick a huge price tag on the bag of an empty bunch of offers is not going to help anybody. The lure of tickets was one of the really positive aspects of the original club; well save for the fact that there are no guarantees in this regard and the fact that you can buy tickets online for most venues.
The real icing on the cake lies with the UK scenario, not only do you have to pay 40 pounds to join that club, hopefully it will exist in a years time, but you are also going to be saddled with handling fees of R100 and 33 pounds for a single ticket to Twickenham. No wonder the average supporter in the UK is outraged.
Proposals to continue with the original franchised branches at test locations and no profit for gain operations in other locations were rejected by the guru’s at SA Rugby Pty Ltd. The Protection of the brand being of major concern, well I hear that the logo is going to change as well, or maybe we will have the launch of the Official Springbok team as opposed to the Springbok team. Small wonder then that the same business minds have found it fruitful that there are no less than 2 magazines covering the supporters’ interest in the game, or is it three if we consider the original publication of the Springbok Supporters Club.
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|All Blacks smashed (well their alter egos anyway) by Vinesh Naicker|
|Northland vs. Taranaki|
This was the first game of the round, and Northland who are bottom of the table with no points from three games should have been desperate for a win. However this was not at all apparent. Playing at home, the Northland players displayed none of that hard-edged resilience which stood them in such good stead last year. Instead, they put in another lack-lustre performance which seems to indicate they no longer enjoy the first division. Admittedly Taranaki was hurting from the thrashing handed to them by Waikato last week, but Northland didn’t help matters by consistently losing the ball forward. In the end Northland deserved the zero points they earned due to the number of errors they made.
Waikato vs. Canterbury
The game of the round. An unbeaten Waikato took on last years champions Canterbury, a team flush with All Blacks. The game was non-stop excitement from start to finish, punch & counter-punch. Waikato scored first with a penalty & Canterbury replied with a try. Waikato responded with 3 tries and looked to be in command, however Canterbury, with that self-belief they have shown for several years now, clawed their way back to within 5 points. After the break it looked like Canterbury could take the game, but Waikato continued to take them on with fantastic forward play. From that point on Canterbury would draw close with a try only for Waikato to pull away again. The winner was in doubt until Waikato scored their final try. In the end 100 points were scored including 13 tries. 7 to Waikato and 6 to Canterbury. Waikato finally winning 59-41.
This was the best game I have seen all season, bar none. For sheer excitement and quality of play it was better than any game I saw in the Super 12 or Tri-Nations. The win was absolutely huge for Waikato. Let me put it in context. Canterbury had 12 All Blacks and one former All Black in their starting 15, plus another All Black on the bench. Their forward pack boasted 7 of the All Blacks. And Waikato beat them both in the forwards and the backs. It was a complete performance. Normally in such a high scoring game you would expect that there were a lot of defensive errors, but in this game there weren’t. It was just hard driving play by the forwards, with the backs generally stepping their marker or running into space. Waikatos two All Blacks, Marty Holah and Royce Willis, were superb, both outplaying their Canterbury counterparts. Canterbury were not at all bad and no other team around could have scored 6 tries against Waikato on that day.
Otago vs. Southland
Otago tipped to be finalists at the start of the season continued to play like a V8 engine running on 5 cylinders. In a game where Otago should have crushed Southland and earned a bonus point the final winner was in doubt until the 70th minute. The kicking from both sides was woeful and the handling not much better. Norman Ligari (fullback for Southland) was a stand out player in this regard, the level of skill he demonstrated would not have looked out of place in an under 10 year olds game.
The referee contributed greatly to the lack of spectacle. The inconsistency with which he played advantage was breathtaking, it varied from 5 seconds to 3 minutes, on several occasions the team was 10 metres behind the advantage line when he called advantage over. Van Zyl would have been waddling onto the field within 20 minutes if he had been present. Otago eventually stumbled to a win 16-9. The referee was obviously so embarrassed by everyone’s inability that he ended the game several minutes early. Maybe I was spoiled by the Waikato vs. Canterbury game but no one really stood out in this game. Taine Randell certainly didn’t do much to enhance his All Black selection chances, he had one good run but that was about it.
North Harbour vs. Wellington
The Wellington A team actually showed up to contest the game. The first half was unusual in that Wellington played "efficiently” rather than with flair. Accumulating points by just doing the basics correctly rather than by doing something extraordinary. They led 19-6 at the break.
The coach obviously smacked all the Harbour players on the back of the head at half time because they came out with a hiss and a roar in the second half, scoring a try straight away to pull the score back to 19-11. Harbour did a lot of driving & Dion Wahler, who obviously couldn’t stand the heat, spat the dummy like he usually does and got sin-binned for dangerous play. Harbour had the momentum and were only behind 19-17 when the Wellington hooker (who was lying on the ground holding onto the legs of a North Harbour player, and had been quite rightly raked away) went and had a cry on the touch judges shoulder. The only explanation I have is that the touch judge must have fancied him because he stuck out his flag and had a Harbour player sent off. The most bizarre thing about this was that the player who was sent off was nowhere near the raking that occurred. This sending off caused North Harbour to lose their momentum and they were unable to score again. Final score 19-17. I hope the touch judge got a big sloppy kiss from the Wellington hooker after the game for his efforts.
Auckland vs. BOP.
Auckland started off slowly as they have been doing lately and only kicked into top gear in the second half. Bay of Plenty looked tired, and I guess the lack of depth in their squad is starting to show after 4 rounds. They like Northland will struggle to keep footing it with the big boys in the next few rounds.
Coach Balie Swart made some changes to his teams line up, in order to gain parity with the bigger Hawkes Bay pack. He brought in the bulkier Lui Aukuso for his first start at hooker ahead of South African Gareth Peters. Despite this change in the end Hawkes Bay (the defending division 2 champions) were too much for the Nelson Bays pack winning 24-8. Although frustrated with the referees decisions (a recurring theme with South Africans these days???) he conceded that the better team won and that Nelson Bays still have a way to go.
Andre Venter is seen as a packhorse doing all the hard graft, then I guess
I am a race-horse. Friedrich
Jonah would never criticise his coach. He never criticises his teammates. He never goes down on anybody. Phil Kingsley Jones
Jonah suffers because of the athlete that he is and because of his size and his ability. If he stands there people say, 'well, he's not doing anything'. Of course he's not blo-ody doing anything because we haven't given him the ball. Phil Kingsley Jones
On the criteria for a sport (like rugby) being included in the Olympics. Popularity, universality, that it not cost too much, not hurt athletes` health, and bring necessary diversity. Jacques Rogge, IOC president
The match commissioner did his job as he saw fit. I would want to tell him how he should do his job as little as I would want him to tell me how I should coach. Kevin Putt on Johann Wasserman's non-citing
We are not condoning the taking of any drugs. There was a trace of ephedrine in his sample. We felt his was a genuine mistake and supported him at the disciplinary hearing. Neath coach Lyn Jones after Wales A fly-half Lee Jarvis tested positive for a banned stimulant last season
I don't think we have a drug problem in the game but there is a street culture of drugs in Wales. Terry Cobner, Welsh Rugby Union's director of rugby
As in soccer we do not want to see the day coming when some might go into drugs, like Maradona, or throw their lives away when confronted with the emptiness of retirement. We haven't seen it yet in rugby, but it's coming as one of the pitfalls of professionalism and we need to be prepared for it." Corne Krige
I've always said I will play until I am 30 and that is the target. I would rather retire myself than let someone else retire me. Corne Krige
My beef with all this burnout buzz is that it is wholly self-induced, brought on by mismanagement, law changes and a surfeit of greed from players and administrators, for which there are no remedies whatsoever. Paul Ackford
|THE REAL BOB SKINSTAD: Get the October issue of SA Rugby magazine now for an inside look at SA's golden boy. To subscribe to SA Rugby phone 021-418-0141 or e-mail email@example.com|
|Currie Cup Results|
|Letters to the Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org)|
You mentioned in this week's edition of RF that this weekend is the final round of fixtures before the Top 8. Actually it is the penultimate weekend - the Sharks play the Lions next weekend in JoBurg in their final round match (they take on the Pumas at ABSA Stadium this weekend).
You mentioned that RF had it's best month. Congratulations! It is always gratifying to see one's hard work get rewarded with attention, and web hits are the best indicator (as is feedback).
Well done and keep it up.
All the best
|Good Morning Lucas,|
Thanks for the forum you sent.
Just one question and one suggestion only. Sometimes I only receive my forum 2 weeks later, is it because of my e mail or is it that you guys are too busy sometimes????
My friends and I sometimes wonder what happened to the players of yesteryear such as Hennie Le Roux and Andre Joubert, where are they and what are they doing now? Maybe if you can find time in your busy schedule to inform us on where are all these players and if they are doing well.
Thanks a million again.
RF is a weekly mail however due to the nature of mailing - many things can go wrong, if you don't receive it let me know and I'll send you the latest or you can peruse it on www.rugbyforum.co.za
Yes, there is always an interest in the old Boks and I'm looking to set up interviews with certain guys from certain eras however Geography is always a problem!
Thanks for the suggestion,
Thank you I was beginning to doubt my own sanity. I have received RF for the first time and it appears you have some subscribers who do not understand the professional game and/or sport in general. I did not see the article written by CvdW but from the replies you received and the comments I did not have to. Desmond's article came close to how I feel about this whole professionalism "thing". In his final paragraph he says "...illustrates the level of pride that you have for the country..". I would go one further and say "pride and commitment" for club, province/state, and country. Does the amount of money determine the level? I do not have a problem with being paid to ply your trade, but who and how are we going to distinguish between pride and commitment?
Regarding the refereeing saga, Andre Watson has been having his say in the local rags about the "South African" whiner's. As A SPORTING PUBLIC CAN WE NOT BE GRACIOUS IN LOSING and stop trying to blame everyone else, the blame stops with the players they are being paid to do a job of work. Yes the refereeing has been sub standard in some of the games, however, when the Springboks where on their 17 straight wins I can not remember any referees being chastised?
In closing to Marius about Bobby etc., if you stick your neck out the "unsporting" public will knock your head off.
Have a good one
Ref's might cost SWD it's rightful place
Maybe just maybe Mehrten's was not out of line when he told old Mr.Watson his out of his league.
If you do a review of his last 4 games it's worse than a new ref blowing a under 9 school game for the first time. He was out of position 9 times out of 10 missing forward passes knock one's and major fault number 1: Tries
You as editor really can take up the side of the smaller Provinces and put this one in to prospective.
SWD lost it's game to Blue Bulls to a try given by MR. Watson when he was standing on the other side, OUT OF VIEW awarding a try (Not referring it to the TMO.) Costing SWD not to qualify out right for the super 8 and we all know the major financial implications of that.
Then Tappe Henning, I mean this guys reputation speak for itself, doing the same thing. Two error's maybe costing the SWD a place in SA Rugby for the nest 2 years.
If this was the W.P. or the Bulls Sharks or any other big union this would have been a major talking point. In conclusion, our refs are to old, unfit and not consequent.
I challenge anyone in proving me wrong, but this will reflect when the Boks play overseas at the end of the year by getting at least double the amount of penalties against them then other teams as the results of bad referees in SA.
Johann J Verster
Gee asseblief meer krediet!!!
Die Bulle Natal wedstryd was ‘n ongelooflike harde wedstryd gewees. En soos elke span sy eie unieke manier van speel het, so was dit dan ook Saterdag. Albei die provinsies het tradisioneel baie sterk agttalle en het ons dit nie gesien nie!. Intimidasie, harde duikslae, harde indryf werk. Dit was alles daar. Het ons nie aan die begin van die seisoen en einde verlede jaar gekla dat ons voorspelers nie meer domineer voor nie? Het ons nie gevra dat die ysters van SA rugby terugkom nie? Ek moet erken dat die agterspel glad nie goed was nie. Maar daaraan kan gewerk word.
Die Bokke speel elke jaar teen spanne met verskillende spelstyle. Bv. Engeland gebruik dryfmale en intimideer. Die Aussies speel ‘n wye hardloop spel en die Kiwi’s ‘n meer gebalanseerde spel. Is dit nie goed dat ons verskillende spelpatrone in ons eie Curriebeker het nie? Berei dit ons spelers nie beter voor vir Internasionale wedstryde nie? As al die provinsies dieselfde spelpatrone speel gaan ons verveeld raak en gaan die internasionale spanne ons miskien verras en ons wil mos die beste wees. Elke teenstander word altyd anders benader. Die wedstryd tussen die Bulle en Sharks was miskien nie aanskoulik nie, maar ek het dit uit ‘n voorspeler oogpunt baie geniet. Veral Natal het met 14 Bokke in hulle begin 15-tal teleurgestel. Dit moet ook gesien word as ‘n oorlewingstryd van die grotes, want het die Bulle verloor, sal hulle verseker nie die halfeind maak nie.
Ek wil veral uit ‘n Top Ses volgende jaar sien dat die tradisioneel sterk provinsies volgende jaar die Top Ses uitmaak. Veral Kevin Putt het dit mooi saamgevat: "Dit was 'n fantastiese wedstryd, maar ek weet darem nie of die spelers eerlik kan wees as hulle sê hulle het dit geniet nie. Daarvoor was dit darem wraggies té hard en meedoënloos. Daar moet meer sulke wedstryde wees, al was die gehalte nie altyd so hoog nie. Dit was klipharde rugby wat net verseker kan word wanneer krag teen krag te staan kom."
Regte klipharde Curriebeker rugby met “Blood and Guts” soos wat die Engelsman sal sê.
Jy het uiteindelik jou wit en blou gestreepte onderrok laat uithang!!. Ek het die naweek na al die Curriebeker wedstryde op TV gekyk. Is ek reg of het hulle nie die WP wedstryd teen Griekwas uitgesaai nie? Was u dalk daar gewees? Hoe kan Swys de Bruin sê dat die WP beter as die Bokke speel as hulle nog nie hierdie seisoen teen sterk teenstand gespeel het nie. Ek reken dat die WP teen die Vrystaat met Rassie Erasmus en Andre Venter aan die spits hulle Moses gaan teekom. Ek geniet julle nuusbrief terdeë en het my vriende in Londen ook gevra om in te skryf omdat ek glo dat julle ‘n objektiewe siening het oor die wedstryd. Moet dit asseblief nie verander en wees asseblief objektief en gee meer krediet waar dit verdiend is.
|Dankie vir die goeie brief Adolf, ek stem saam met alles
wat jy sê en dit was juis my eerlike opinie dat ek nie die wedstryd geniet
het nie! Meeste mense (dit sluit skeidregters in!) weet maar min van die
dieptes van 'n losskrum of losgemaal en dit sal seker help om te sê dat as
'n skrumskakel op my dag ek die harde donkie werk kan waardeer maar die
flair van die agterlyne bewonder. Verder kwalifiseer enige no 9 homself as
'n "ere" voorspeler - veral as die agterlyn aanjaag!|
Dit is egter 'n goeie punt aangaande die verskillende speelstyle maar die Bulls kon gewen het as hulle net 'n bietjie meer "savvy" gehad het! Die Super 12 probleme is nog nie opgelos nie en daar is net soveel wedstryde wat gewen kan word op hierdie manier maar ja dit is goeie oefening.
Aangaande my WP onderrok... ek is geskool in Natal, gestudeer in Transvaal, 'skies Gauteng en bly in Kaapstad maar synde ek deur B afdeling dae geworstel het en op Loftus was op daardie heuglike dag in 1990 is ek 'n Natal ondersteuner maar ek probeer my bes om objektief te bly! Soos die Ingelsman sê, "use it, don't use it!" of "believe it or not!"
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