Rugby Union - T14, Urc, Premiership

Discussion in 'General Football & Other Sport' started by Sting, Mar 12, 2017.

  1. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Several players who have played for NZ and Australia in the past recently switched to playing for Tonga this summer and some will see action against England. Their preparation as mentioned has been terrible with hold ups to players, some being subtly coerced yet again not to turn out and the coach Toutai Kefu still recovering in Australia after being stabbed at home.
  2. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Poor showing from Japan especially at the setpiece. They are a team in rebuild mode but after their efforts against the Wallabies that was extremely disappointing. Farrell will be mightily impressed by the showing Ireland did put on with Sexton scoring on his hundredth cap. Lowe and the lines of running and offloading were excellent.

    The vote for allowing players to switch international allegiance based on ancestry and for one time only will be put to the vote at the WR board meeting. I hope it goes through. It's likely the 6N will oppose it along with others like Georgia fearful of a rise in the PI power. It should be allowed given the prolific poaching of PI talent and their weak economies that makes players from the islands wanderers looking to care for their families and having to put national pride behind them. It is exploitative. There have been instances of NZ capping a player once and then discarding them meaning they can never play for a PI team. I'm talking about several PI's who learnt their rugby in the islands.

    I am also concerned that NZ rugby seem to think they can also predate on developing teams like Holland and Germany. Germany at the moment is in a mess but young Anton Segner is making a reputation in Super Rugby. A powerful skilled flanker who went on scholarship to NZ to improve. NZ could lock him up for instance. Or a couple of Dutch youngsters. Holland is going the right way in developing their national side. They earned promotion to the ERC by beating Belgium in a playoff. The Dutch Union has organized television coverage of all their matches with Ziggo. They have increased junior numbers over the last decade along with increasing numbers of club sides and brought in Kiwi coaches. The complete opposite for example of the shambles of Canadian rugby.

    As part of the development strategy they send their best underage players to NZ schools. Stan van den Hoven and Fabian Holland both locks have been mightily impressive and featured as a result not for Dutch underage sides but NZ. Again should they make the ABs they will be lost permanently to Holland. The sport will never develop if this incessant poaching does not stop and I think Rugby Nederland sent their kids over not to see them poached by the ABs. NZ should have some shame considering the immense player base they have already.

  3. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Poor discipline from Tonga extremely costly. A bit unfortunate with the supposed deliberate knock on. Conceded forty points a man down. Wales rather unlucky. One mistake was all that it took. Ellis Jenkins absolutely superb. The idiot who may or may not have cost Liam Williams a try. Pitch invaders like that need a few weeks in jail. What an idiot.

    NZ struggled for a while against Italy with some plodding play but Italy flagged after the hour and NZ let rip. This Italian side looks a lot better though than recent versions with some young blood coming through. Changes in the Italian Ten championship sponsored by Peroni mean that a number of Argentines could end up playing for Italy based on ancestry and residency. One or two are already in like Ivan Nemer the prop and centre Ignacio Brex. Leonardo Marin the youngster at fly half may be part of the solution for Italy going forward. A real talent.
  4. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Good win for Scotland. Did not see the game however.

    Hard to get that excited considering the Scots could be renaming themselves as Bokland. No love for the Wobs either. Three of the players in the line up having been pinched from the PI u20 sides. Shameless.

    Argentina had a narrow loss in an ill tempered affair in Paris 29-20. Ledesma has to disappear. The Pumas are packed with excellent players and plenty of youth from the u20 Pumitas but they have shown no progression under Mario when they should be comfortably top four in the world with NZ, SA and England. Players on the field looked directionless for the most part and lacking the fire they are normally known for.
  5. reg_varney

    reg_varney Squad Player

    Last edited: Nov 7, 2021
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  6. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Liam would have scored in all likelihood given the distance the cover has come across. One sidestep back inside is usually good enough to beat the outside centre. This idiot should be spending a few weeks doing community service, a lifetime ban from sports stadiums and an extremely heavy fine. Pillock.
    reg_varney likes this.
  7. reg_varney

    reg_varney Squad Player

    Entertaining game yesterday from a makeshift Welsh team and a talented but as usual, indisciplined Fiji XV (or should that be XIV/XIII). As in the round ball footy, a team losing a player usual ups the work rate and determination which was a hallmark of the Fiji display but if they are to progress on the World stage at 15-a-side they must improve their discipline. The red card was such a stupid thing to do but didn't spoil the game as Wales at time laboured and struggled to finish their moves off and put points on the board. Positives for Wales, injury comeback players Liam Williams and Ellis Jenkins made excellent progress towards regaining full fitness. Biggar continues to develop into an excellent all-round fly-half and it was good to see Alex Cuthbert, another on the comeback trail, use his experience to finish off a move to score a try with a tricky finish. Good on him. Then there's the running, kicking, try-scoring machine that is Louis Rees-Zammit who continues to grow and improve with each international he plays. If he have can stay fit and keep on learning then Wales are going to have a very special player. His try was superb:

    However, the experiment of putting 3 specialist no.7s in the back row didn't really pay off as there was no real big hitter/ball carrier who could make inroads into the Fiji defence. Hopefully, more options will be available against the Aussies over the weekend.
  8. onion8837

    onion8837 Reservist

    Doesn't sound like it based on the reports coming out of the camp - more injuries, nobody much returning. Hooper out may help us as he is their one class act
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  9. reg_varney

    reg_varney Squad Player

    That's a big blow for the Aussies. Might even it up a bit.
  10. miked2006

    miked2006 Premiership Prediction League Proprietor

    Give the man a knighthood. Anything that screws over the Welsh in such hilarious circumstances deserves significant adoration.
  11. reg_varney

    reg_varney Squad Player

    Yeeeeeessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss. Both my teams winning today. Fantastic.
    onion8837 likes this.
  12. reg_varney

    reg_varney Squad Player

    Screen Shot 2020-08-11 at 14.08.09.jpg
    As a reward they win a shiny new satellite dish.
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  13. GoingDown

    GoingDown "The Stability"

  14. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Disappointing for the second tier sides. Georgia played extremely well against France. Portugal against Japan and Spain for a while against Fiji. Romania look like they are on the right path as well. And Uruguay narrowly lost to Italy. The South American Championship is certainly having an effect and Chile also beat Russia as they continue to move up the rankings.

    However Tonga were mightily disappointing. Fiji let themselves down with poor discipline although with the Drua in SR and more professionalism I think it may only be a matter of time before they become a T1 regular. The biggest disappointment has to be Argentina.

    Having lost all their games in the RC, easing to a win as usual over Italy they were thumped by Ireland. Poor discipline did not help and Lavanini picked up a sixth red card in Test rugby. He deserves a long ban. However given the level of talent in the side they ought to be performing far better.

    Ledesma needs to go. His decisions, his relations with players and his bizarre choices. Playing a winger at fly half ? Madness. Especially when you have two very decent fly halves in Miotti and Pato Fernandez. Unless he goes Argentina will not make an impact in France. The hosts for the RWC will be more than pleased with their efforts having dispatched NZ.

    However a word of caution. WCs are not won in the years between them but in the actual tournament. One can definitely say the mythic gap between North and South disappeared comprehensively this Autumn. England dispatching SA. Wales Australia along with Scotland and Ireland outplaying NZ in every department. Caelan Doris showing what made him a u20 star and surely a captain of the side for the future or Lions.

    French domestic rugby continues to nurture T2 and indeed T3 talents with the number of espoirs from Holland of great note.
    iamofwfc likes this.
  15. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    So the law on who can you play for has been relaxed and it was designed to help the PI's specifically although you could see some players move late in their careers if they have failed to make the grade at one Test playing country. A player can now play for another team after a three year stand down period for the country of their parent or grandparents birth.

    Given the PI diaspora in NZ they will benefit enormously and rightly so in my opinion after being predated upon for so long by teams including England. It also offers options to players like Alex Lozowski continually overlooked by Jones to play for Italy perhaps. A former Fullerian he could qualify via his maternal grandmother.

    Now some say this will cheapen the nature of rugby. Players could also defer on a nation ie a promising PI player might still wait for a NZ call up and then only late in their career as with Charles Piutau elect to play for the country of their parents birth as in his case. But it would still strengthen those sides. One does feel a little for those teams like Georgia, Russia, Portugal and the South American sides who rely on entire domestic born and raised players as they will lose out. But many sides outside of the PIs could benefit.

    There are for instance several players with American and Canadian parents although seeing George Kruis in a Canuck jersey is unlikely. I did contact Rugby Canada about him when he was a Saxon but only received a polite thanks we will look into it reply.

    A potential Tongan side for the next RWC would be formidable opposition and could well cause upsets:
  16. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    There was a piece recently on Nigel Starmer-Smith recently on the BBC with his son. Nigel has been hit by dementia which from personal experience is an appalling affliction but treatments are emerging as we understand how the process is mediated and initiated.

    Nigel a former Oxford Blue was scrum half for England in the seventies but for many remains one of the voices of rugby union as commentator on Rugby Special. With his lovely delivery and impartiality he was another of the golden age of BBC commentators. It was so sad to see the piece with his son. The body is there and hardly so but the mind and the person has long since departed. Made me cry to be honest. Many fond memories of a Sunday evening watching the show and Brian Benetts Holy Mackerel theme.

    This is his wonderful commentary for that most memorable try at the old Twickers scored by Saint-Andre and when Gallic flair was a joy to behold:

    His son Charlie has released a single in support of the Alzheimers Society. If you can as I have purchase a copy or spare what you can to charities that research these diseases. As the population grows older sadly more and more will be afflicted by them and the sooner we can find treatments the better for everyone. If you have been on a dementia ward it's a heartbreaking and soul destroying place to be.

  17. WillisWasTheWorst

    WillisWasTheWorst Its making less grammar mistake's thats important

    It's never been my sport, but watching that French try reminds you how rugby at its best could/should be. Unfortunately, the way the rules and tactics have gone in recent decades makes it all the more unlikely.

    I echo your thoughts on Nigel Starmer-Smith - a fine commentator and a voice from my youth.
    Smudger likes this.
  18. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    France looking good for the Grand Slam.

    In other news. The spivs are at it again. Proposing Italy be removed from the Six Nations and replaced by South Africa. All in the name of money of course deeming SA to be more lucrative to sponsors rather than paying any attention to development of the sport. FIR has addressed many of the issues at a development level and the effect is being seen. The u20 is far more competitive than ever before and they beat England 6-0 the other week with a dominant pack.

    The spivs need to keep away from rugby union and we should be looking at some point incorporating Georgia into the tournament. The other proposal from the RFU and the Premiership club owners what a surprise is that the Championship be replaced by reserve sides.

    Premiership sides already send many of their youngsters to these sides and it has been an invaluable way of developing these players several of whom now play in the England side after having served time as it were with Bedford, Cornish Pirates and others. It is also crippling to the aspirations of those clubs down the pyramid several of whom are very famous and with illustrious pedigrees like Nottingham and Moseley. Doncaster and Ealing are having their stadiums looked at with a view to seeing if they are fit enough for the Premiership at this moment.

    In rather sad new two figurative giants of the sport have departed at far too early an age. Dual code international Va'aiga Tuigamala passed away aged 52. Representing both the ABs and later Samoa he was an absolute unit with silky passing skills at centre and an amazing turn of pace for his size. He played domestically in the UK for Wigan Warriors and then reverted to union playing for Newcastle Falcons. Both clubs will be organizing tributes.

    Joeli Vidiri has passed at the age of 48. The epitome of the flying Fijian he only represented his home union for a season before being pinched and then cast off by the ABs in what was a rather cynical move. Joeli was in effect killed by his mother who told him continually to refuse a kidney transplant. Unfortunately he died of kidney failure as a result. Some mother.

  19. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    Game of 2 halves at Twickers.

    England on top 1st half but Wales came back well and almost grabbed a win .

    France the team to beat .
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  20. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    France and Ireland are strong contenders for the WC in 2023. Granted England are a young side and were a man down but Ireland still have real deep depth. France's defence marshalled by Shaun Edwards is nigh on impregnable although Davies missed a gilt edged chance the other night.

    Italy had some real resolve in Rome today. They may have lost. Again but there are some very promising signs if the spivs don't have their way and try and force SA in at their expense. Their u20's for instance won again this time playing Scotland the other night. The FIR plan for grassroots rugby is bearing fruit at last.
  21. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    Harsh scoreline for England but then you cannot play with one man down for basically the whole game .
  22. a19tgg

    a19tgg First Team

    Well done Wales :p
  23. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Six Nations overs. ENC over.

    France and Ireland must be in seventh heaven. Scotland lots of doubts again. Wales and England a lot of soul searching to do with questions over the coaches of all the last three teams. Italy will be pleased. Thoroughly deserved win and the work from the clubs and Connor O'Shea is starting to show positives. The u20 also beat Wales having beaten England and Scotland as well.

    Ireland show how the provinces and clubs can come together unlike Wales. Their u20 were formidable in their Grand Slam walloping Scotland 59-5 in their final fixture. In the European Nations Cup Georgia won the title again. With the events in Ukraine Russia were disqualified. It remains to be seen if they are demoted a division. It was therefore a match between Spain and Portugal to decide who would finish second and sort out Europe 2 as a qualifier for France 2023. Spain triumphed 33-28 sparking emotional scenes as they return to the world stage after their trip in 1999. The gap between Georgia and the rest was underlined as they thumped Spain last week. We need them in the 6N.

    I was a bit torn seeing as a lot of the Spanish players are French origin compared to Los Lobos who are doing a fantastic job of developing junior rugby in Portugal and play with attacking verve. Rugby in Spain has a long history and produced several notable players like Oriol Ripol who plied his trade with Northampton Saints for many years and Pablo Feijoo. Holland avoided relegation by virtue of Russia being disqualified. Though they had some heavy defeats their junior programme as mentioned is excellent. Two outstanding youngsters in NZ who I hope the ABs do not pinch and many in France were unfortunately unavailable.

    In the Rugby Trophy Belgium as expected won back promotion along with Germany who just pipped an improving Poland. Poland again have been using several players of Polish descent from France and England but club rugby there is moving in the right direction. Germany rugby is a mess at the moment with the head coach being sacked and a financial crisis as the main benefactor pulled out in the wake of a scandal. Belgium are also on the up although progress seems to be up and down as with many of the T2/3 sides.

    As usual rugby shows wonderful sportsmanship with Josh Adams handing over his MOTM medal to Ange Capuozzo. Whether Capuozzo can match up to the legend of Paolo Vaccari as Minozzi has failed to do is another matter. But two very impressive matches from him so far and a move to Stade Toulousain.
  24. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Great channel for union followers. Squidge explains how Italy are moving forward and will be a force to reckon with in the next four to five years with a lot of help from two Irishmen.

  25. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Tribute to Tom Smith who has passed away at the more than untimely age of fifty to colorectal cancer. A giant of a player and one of the very best to don the blue of Scotland. One of the best ever technical props in history.

    Here at Planet Rugby, we’ve always loved props.

    Rugby folklore is all about the big lads, the pint sinkers, the beer drinkers, the piano pushers and the song singers and at every club around the land, there’s a prop or two that are as bigger part of their club furniture as the bar itself.

    Smith was one of those props that the game loved and embraced like few others. A tiny man by modern standards, at 5’9” and some 105kgs, he was a technical wizard, able to unload his devastating power through short but explosive levers and happy scrummaging at a height that some might consider subterranean.

    A few years back, Planet Rugby did a scrummaging masterclass piece with former Springbok tighthead Cobus Visagie, a man noted for his power in the tight.

    “Who was the best loosehead you ever played against?” we asked. “Tom Smith,” was the instant reply that surprised us – we were expecting kudos thrown at Jason Leonard, Sylvain Marconnet, Christian Califano or Jean-Jacques Crenca, all massive powerhouses. But no, it was the wee man from Scotland that took the nod of approval.

    Visagie went on to explain: “However I attacked Tom, however low I wanted to go, he’d cope with it. By the end of every game, he’d worked me out and had won. He was technically brilliant.”

    The Lion that roared
    Smith was part of the iconic 1997 series-winning side before touring again four years later, becoming the only Scottish player to have played in six consecutive Lions Tests.

    The loosehead prop was selected for his first Lions tour to South Africa with only three Scotland caps to his name, having made his international debut earlier that same year, with forwards coach Jim Telfer a big admirer of the loosehead he first encountered playing for Dundee HSFP in a Sevens tournament.

    “He was a rugby player first and a prop second,” Telfer recalled.

    “He was never compromised when he had the ball in his hands. He could move it quickly or take the player on or hold it up. His skill was the thing I remember with Tom.

    “You could play a different kind of game when he was in the team. He could be a link player but was still a solid servant in the scrums and lineouts. He was always a very good scrummager – he was the ideal shape because he had the bulk as well.”

    Such was his impact, Sir Ian McGeechan, who coached the Lions in 1997 along with Telfer, described Smith as the “greatest Scotland player of the professional era”.

    Smith was an integral part of that Lions team that won in one of the greatest of series, forming a technically adept front-row with Paul Wallace and Keith Wood that nullified a much bigger and more powerful Springbok trio purely by setting the height of the scrum so low that the Boks couldn’t apply their superior power. He played six consecutive Tests for the Lions, the only Scot to ever achieve that feat.In the next eight years Smith added 61 caps to his Lions appearances and was to be a first choice starter for Scotland, becoming a talismanic figure for the team whilst winning the Five Nations in 1999 and captaining the side throughout the 2001 Autumn Internationals. Smith was also Scotland’s Player of the Season in 2000/01 and was included in the Zurich World XV for 2002.

    After an international career that included two World Cups and six consecutive Lions Tests, Smith’s final match in the blue jersey came against England in the 2005 Six Nations clash at Twickenham, a game that saw England win 43-22.

    Domestically, Smith spent five years in amateur rugby before joining the then Caledonia Reds in 1996, where he played for two seasons before joining Glasgow Warriors, followed by a two year stint at CA Brive.

    He returned to the UK in 2001, joining Northampton Saints and making 174 appearances during his eight-year spell at the club. His stint at Franklin’s Gardens included two Powergen Cup finals, a Heineken Cup semi-final and three Heineken Cup quarter finals. He retired at the end of the 2008/09 season before becoming forwards coach for Edinburgh. Tom is survived by his wife Zoe, and their three children, Amelie, Angus and Edward.

  26. onion8837

    onion8837 Reservist

    RIP Phil Bennett - one of the greatest of all time. Was lucky enough to meet the great man and get his autograph before a Harlequins v Scarlets club game in about 1975
  27. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    The word legend is used far too liberally but Bennett was a Welsh and world rugby legend. If there was an all time Lions XV he'd be in it. Had there been WCs in 1971 and 1975 it's a fair bet Wales would have won them. Those backlines were magical. The names roll off the tongue. Bennett was sublime but off the pitch a very humble and generous man. Salt of the earth. A genius of the sport. Really Llanelli should rename the stadium after him and find a decent sculptor to catch his likeness for all time.

    iamofwfc and onion8837 like this.
  28. onion8837

    onion8837 Reservist

    Great videos - made me very sad to think that he is gone now. Amazing talent
    iamofwfc likes this.
  29. onion8837

    onion8837 Reservist

    I heard it first on telly
    I thought “that’s really odd,

    Bevan and Dai Richards in
    But Phil not in the squad”

    So i called up Rediffusion
    When their number I had found

    I said “the picture’s working normally,
    But there’s a problem with the sound”

    They sent a man in overalls
    He told me not to fret

    He’d change the valves and speaker
    And overhaul the set

    It took him till the Sunday
    He left me with a laugh

    I turned it on, the problem’d gone
    It said: “Bennett : Outside Half”

    Max Boyce
  30. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    Saracens beaten in the last minute by Leicester.

    1st half yellow card cost them dear .
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  31. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Hope you are keeping well my dear fellow. :) Crusaders under Scott Robertson took the Super Rugby title. Again. He'll be AB's head coach surely after the 2023 WC. Castres will play Montpellier in the Top 14 final. In an all SA final the Stormers beat the Bulls to win the United Rugby Championship.

    Most teams have announced their squads for their summer Test series. Uruguay are already around on their travels. Japan fielding some new faces cruised to a 34-15 win in Tokyo and will play Los Teros again next week before facing off against France in a two Test series. Uruguay under Esteban Meneses were missing three of their European contingent notably their first choice half backs Santiago Arata the scrum half was leading Castres to the T14 final outplaying his opposite number no less than Antoine Dupont of Toulouse. Felipe Berchesi the fly half had not been released as yet by Dax.

    The controversial Israel Folau will be selected by Tonga and several others are in the pipeline for their 2023 WC squad like Augustine Pulu. They are building a dangerous squad. However there is still the issue of the pull of the ABs. Folau Fakatava Tongan born but brought over to NZ aged 16 as usual and a Highlander is one of the best young scrum halves in SR. However he is still waiting for an AB call up which is a shame.
  32. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    While the summer Tests are underway qualification to France 2023 carries on. The RWC is set to be awarded to the USA in 2031 and hopefully Argentina-Uruguay in 2039.

    The US Eagles take on Chile in a two legged playoff with leg one in Santiago. Despite WR insisting clubs release players three Americans who play in France are for mysterious reasons not available. WR needs to talk the talk and walk the walk and come down hard on these clubs.

    Rugby is slowly but surely growing again in the US although more schools have to play it. It's no use kids taking it up aged eighteen at a collegiate level when kids elsewhere already have six to eight years playing experience on them. NY Rugby beat Seattle Seawolves in the final in NY to win the MLR title by the way.

    Meanwhile the African Cup played in Marseille will see Namibia take on Kenya in the final after the Weltwitschias beat Zimbabwe and Kenya narrowly beat Algeria. It's great to see the development in Africa and the addition of Zimbabwe to the second tier of the Currie Cup. Hopefully they can in time get back to the level they were in the eighties.

    In the Six Nations u20 something of a misnomer given there are eight teams competing (those additional sides being the Baby Boks and Georgia) SA lead the way. Things to note so far in this are how poor Scotland u20 is which does not bode well for the future. Italy u20 look mightily impressive and Georgia u20 continue to give impressive performances which shows they are on an upward curve with their back row and backs. They demolished Scotland 55-17 a record win for a T2 side over a T1 at this level.

    Most impressive performance from last weekend was Fiji beating Tonga 36-0 in the Pacific Nations Cup where Samoa beat Australia A. Dominant in the setpieces and playing some lovely running rugby. They are masters at sevens and now under the direction of Vern Cotter a tremendous appointment and the emergence of the Drua who had several youngsters in the side will hopefully translate their skills fully into the XVs and become a force to upset the old order.

  33. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    Ireland show England how it's done by beat 14 men - New Zealand in this case.

    Congratulations tot hem - great victory.

    Surely England themselves have to get a win v the Aussies just to get a bit of confidence and boost morale?

    I notice South Africa have mad 14 changes for their game v Wales - lots of squad depth there or being a bit complacent?

    Sure the Welsh will want to prove a point after the narrow defeat last week.
  34. onion8837

    onion8837 Reservist

    Wales win ! Never in doubt.

    Terrible game but who cares ?
    reg_varney and wfc4ever like this.
  35. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    Can Scotland make it 4 out of 4 for the Northern hemisphere nations today !

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