Who will finish in the top 4 of 'The JEFF'

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Who will finish in the top 4 of 'The JEFF'

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Post by HERSH on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 9:17 am

Please vote on this very important Poll.

Please only pick 4.

Cheers
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Post by beshocked on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 9:20 am

Leicester,Saracens,Quins,Saints in my opinion.

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Post by red_stag on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 9:26 am

I have a feeling that we are looking at Leicester Tigers, Saracens, Harlequins and Gloucester. It would be great to see a little bit of a rattling to the usual suspects. I think Gloucester could make it into the Top 4.

Bill Twelvetrees, Ben Morgan and Jimmy Cowan are three very good additions to the team. I really like the look of that backline I just wonder can the pack give them a solid enough platform throughout the season.
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Post by beshocked on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 9:38 am

True red stag. Gloucester are a strange one. 3rd in the 2010-11 season but largely 2011-12 was one to forget. Didn't they come 9th?

Gloucester are one of those sides who have the potential and players to do well but can they fulfill it.

I went for Saints as one of my picks because they've been consistently (last 3 seasons) in top 4. I think they'll sneak in again.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 9:47 am

To be fair Gloucester were doing pretty well until their DOR started looking at other jobs. They had a spectacular fall in form during the second half of the season. I think they have a good team but it's very raw in places and relient on some club stalwarts, particularly Nick Wood in the front row and Buxton in the second row to run the lineout. If they can get those two fit and get Hamilton playing more often than not they stand a good chance of getting into the playoffs. They need one of their two new 15s to be firing quickly though as sides took advantage of May at 15 LY and the extremely underrated Olly Morgan is injured.

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Post by Bathite on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 9:50 am

I think having Rob Cook coming in at 15 might well be an inspired signing for Glos and that Welsh bloke from the Scarlets comes with a good rating and many of the Welshman seeming annoyed he left. So don't think it will matter too much when Olly Morgan is inevitably injured for all of the season again

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Post by HERSH on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 9:52 am

Glaws finished lower than Bath Yahoo , who lets face it were rubbish under SIM furious
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Post by AlastairW on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 9:55 am

beshocked wrote:Leicester,Saracens,Quins,Saints in my opinion.

+1

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Post by doctor_grey on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 10:05 am

I agree about Gloucester. They probably have more 'ifs' about their ability to compete for a playoff spot. But if those 'ifs' work out, they could be very good, especially if Cowan can control the games and give consistently good service.

Not sure about the other teams.

Saints should be close, but I am not sure about their depth, especially on the front row. Also depends how Tom Wood Courtney Lawes, and Vasily Artemyev recover from their injuries and how Calum Clark responds to his punishment. Last year, Jim Mallinder had to blood youngsters, some of whom did very well. I hope he continues to use that depth to fully develop the team.

Quins appear solid.

Saracens will have to deal with a lot of players involved with England, this year both in November and in February/March.

Leiceter players will either be mad as heck playing in their new kit and eat everyone alive. Or they will be so embarrassed they won't play as well. Could go either way.

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Post by beshocked on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 10:22 am

doctor_grey wrote:I agree about Gloucester. They probably have more 'ifs' about their ability to compete for a playoff spot. But if those 'ifs' work out, they could be very good, especially if Cowan can control the games and give consistently good service.

Not sure about the other teams.

Saints should be close, but I am not sure about their depth, especially on the front row. Also depends how Tom Wood Courtney Lawes, and Vasily Artemyev recover from their injuries and how Calum Clark responds to his punishment. Last year, Jim Mallinder had to blood youngsters, some of whom did very well. I hope he continues to use that depth to fully develop the team.

Quins appear solid.

Saracens will have to deal with a lot of players involved with England, this year both in November and in February/March.

Leiceter players will either be mad as heck playing in their new kit and eat everyone alive. Or they will be so embarrassed they won't play as well. Could go either way.

Doctor grey I don't think Saracens will lose as many players as you think. Strettle,Botha and Stevens have hardly shone. It would be no surprise if all three are completely dropped - Strettle is no longer in the EPS of course. Hodgson has now retired from international rugby so will be available all season.
Barritt has to fight off the likes of Twelvetrees,Allen and JTH. Farrell Jr could be replaced by a number of players. Goode has to compete with Foden and Brown too.

Quins appear solid? They went from 7th in 2010-11 to 1st in 2011-12. That's a pretty meteoric change in fortunes. I personally feel Quins are going to find this season a lot harder. They are the champions so people will be more motivated to win. They'll be hurt a lot more by call ups -they were one of the least affected during the RWC. If Brown is gone at full back who steps into the breach? What about if Robshaw is gone?

Also because of their very weak looking HC pool they should go far in that competition - I expect bare minimum a home quarter final and beyond that who knows. This will of course stretch their resources - not sure their depth is there yet to cope.

Leicester will be up there as usual.

Saints - who knows? Should be in the mix because they have been there in the last 3 seasons. Doubts whether they can make that final step though.

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Post by Bathite on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 10:30 am

I'm going to put this out there, think Quins are going to struggle to make the top 4 this year and maybe even the top 6. Other teams will catch them up this year and with their key players of Brown, Marler and Robshaw almost England 22 regulars now, their core of the side is missing during a large part of the season.

With regards to Saracens, I think that most of their England players won't be playing much going forward. Botha and Strettle have been awful for England, as has Stevens. Goode will be on the fringes after a good SA tour. Farrell will go back to being a bench man for England, as he cover 10 12 13 (allegedly), but Hodgson in the far better player.

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Post by beshocked on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 10:56 am

Bathite I would agree with that. There's definitely a chance Quins might flounder - I don't think they'll have as good as start as they did last season - was it 11 wins in a row?

I still think they'll be a threat though - the monkey is off the back in regards to Leicester and Sarries by beating them in their last encounter. They've got a mental toughness now that's needed to do well so I wouldnt completely write them off but see your point of view.

The signing of fringe English internationals could well be backfiring for Saracens. The likes of Stevens,Wigglesworth,Strettle will be on hefty salaries but in my opinion there are younger less high profile names who have done more for the club so far - Short,Spencer,Gill.

Big names might sound good but they need to perform.

Look at Bath - they signed world cup winning fly half Donald yet Heathcote is snapping on his heels.

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Post by doctor_grey on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 10:56 am

Ok,
Maybe its early for me here. But I see your points about Saracens players not in England. I was thinking last season. Plus Hodgson will be there all season. That's a big difference, too. But Alex Goode should be with England, though it is unfortunate for him to have three top quality England fullbacks at the moment.

I was thinking, however, if Marler can build on his International form,where he appeared to improve throughout, then Quins front row becomes better.

And Saints, I remain unsure. So much rests on the returning players and how much rest they can give the front row.

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Post by beshocked on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 11:04 am

Doctor Grey

Who are Saint's options at hooker next season? I know that Long has moved on and Hartley will be with England so whose left?

I really like Saint's prop options though a bit disappointed not to see Tom Mercey and PDJ making a big impact. Your thoughts on them?

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Post by doctor_grey on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 11:18 am

Last season Andy Long was Saints number 4 Hooker. Shows how deep we were reaching at the end of the season. And Andy actually played quite well. That was nice for a guy who is another one of the good folks in Rugby.

Right now Brett Sharman is the number two Hooker, pending his recovery from his knee surgery. He is 25 and has been at the club for about three seasons. He hit the 50 appearance marks last season before he tore up his knee. He is a good, solid pro. But playing behind Hartley......

We also have Ross McMillan who came in part way through last season. He is also fairly young and did well for us. I remember he was in the Championship when he was signed, but I don't remember from which club (Nottingham?). Was originally cover for the LV Cup matches, but signed for this season as well.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 11:38 am

Isn't the hooker Hayward still at Saints Doc?

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Post by gowales on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 11:43 am

OK, Which joker voted for London Welsh? Laugh

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Post by Bathite on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 12:26 pm

beshocked wrote:Bathite I would agree with that. There's definitely a chance Quins might flounder - I don't think they'll have as good as start as they did last season - was it 11 wins in a row?

I still think they'll be a threat though - the monkey is off the back in regards to Leicester and Sarries by beating them in their last encounter. They've got a mental toughness now that's needed to do well so I wouldnt completely write them off but see your point of view.

The signing of fringe English internationals could well be backfiring for Saracens. The likes of Stevens,Wigglesworth,Strettle will be on hefty salaries but in my opinion there are younger less high profile names who have done more for the club so far - Short,Spencer,Gill.

Big names might sound good but they need to perform.

Look at Bath - they signed world cup winning fly half Donald yet Heathcote is snapping on his heels.

Yep, can add Ashton to that list now as well.

Donald's going to come good, don't you worry, a full pre season this time around and a DOR that knows how to play rugby will help. Heathcote's rise was a very welcome, but unexpected piece of news. Great to have a young english talent pushing the big name signing for a place though, great news.

Just out of interest, is Joe Maddock still on the books for next season or did you let him go?

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Post by ScarletSpiderman on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 12:33 pm

Tigers, Glaws, Exeter, Saracens.

I think the Quins are going to be a real target this season, and have the best shot in the HEC so may be distracted. Glaws have a new coach and no HEC so should be targeting the league in a big way. Exeter are a side on the up and must be eying this step-up on last season.
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Post by beshocked on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 12:38 pm

Bathite Maddock is still on the books but he hasn't really shone when given starts. Going to struggle to get any game time.

You should have re-signed him in my opinion.

Scarletspiderman interesting choice of Glaws and Exeter. Particularly Exeter.

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Post by ScarletSpiderman on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 12:42 pm

beshocked wrote:Bathite Maddock is still on the books but he hasn't really shone when given starts. Going to struggle to get any game time.

You should have re-signed him in my opinion.

Scarletspiderman interesting choice of Glaws and Exeter. Particularly Exeter.

I just have an odd feeling about them. Improved season up season, and I think they may just get to the play-off (a bit like Sale, came up and seemed to get to be quite successful quite quickly).
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Post by gowales on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 12:42 pm

The thing with Exeter is, did the world cup help them? And will that affect them this year, playing against stronger sides.

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Post by beshocked on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 12:47 pm

The problem I find with Exeter is I am not sure they quite have the firepower to deal with some sides. They are a very good team and unit but in my opinion could do with a sprinkling of one or two big game breakers to move up another level.

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Post by ScarletSpiderman on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 12:47 pm

gowales wrote:The thing with Exeter is, did the world cup help them? And will that affect them this year, playing against stronger sides.

Dammit, forgot that!
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Post by Bathite on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 12:49 pm

beshocked wrote:Bathite Maddock is still on the books but he hasn't really shone when given starts. Going to struggle to get any game time.

You should have re-signed him in my opinion.

Scarletspiderman interesting choice of Glaws and Exeter. Particularly Exeter.

Everyone wanted him to be resigned, but management decided to offer him a lower contract! Guy's got a young family and getting towards the end of the career, so took the pay cheque in Italy instead and who can blame him. Then got another pay cheque from you boys! Shame he isn't playing more, is a hell of a good finisher, so under rated, but doesn't fit in with the way you play, he is best with quick, turnover ball

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Post by HongKongCherry on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 1:28 pm

Loving the Glaws love, but I feel we'll come 5th. I feel by the end of the season we'll be going very well, but there has been too much upheaval to start well. Our back play needs to be addressed as we became quite predictable towards the end of last season. But in general I am very positive about our future, but it may not fully click next season.

I can see the usual suspects in the top 4 - Tigers, Quins, Sarries and Saints (prob in that order).

Glaws would be run away leaders if we were allowed to play vomit every week (just for you HERSH OK)!
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Post by funnyExiledScot on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 2:08 pm

beshocked wrote:True red stag. Gloucester are a strange one. 3rd in the 2010-11 season but largely 2011-12 was one to forget. Didn't they come 9th?

Gloucester are one of those sides who have the potential and players to do well but can they fulfill it.

I went for Saints as one of my picks because they've been consistently (last 3 seasons) in top 4. I think they'll sneak in again.

Me too, showing a real lack of imagination. If I had to pick a dark horse it would probably be Sale. Richie Gray is going to make a difference to their pack, and I think Cipriani will be a big hit at 10. Not so sure about the Sale outside backs, although Rob Millar is a cracking player.

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Post by beshocked on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 2:17 pm

FES I agree about Richie Gray. Not so sure about Cipriani. Depends if Sale teach him how to defend and make sure he cuts out his high error count.

As others have said Gloucester could break into the top 4. They are the most likely of the chasing pack in my opinion.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 2:23 pm

Cipriani will benefit from having Hacksaw Sam or whatever they call him at 12. The guy is a great defender so should add some strength to the 10/12 channel. Sale have some promising young outside backs but unsure whether they have a reliably good 13.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 2:24 pm

I'd like Glaws to do well because they have a great crop of young players and play some great rugby, but I just think the Glaws pack is a bit brittle, and query whether they have the half backs to steer them through those tight games. On their day they can win any game, and I reckon they'll start well, but I can see them fading again and falling just short. I do hope I'm wrong, as Burns, Trinder, Sharples and May are some of the most exciting young players knocking around (I remain convinced that Burns must be Scottish!).

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Post by Morgannwg on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 2:42 pm

Leicester, Harelquins, Gloucester, Exeter. Definitely not Bath.

Saracens and Saints making up the op 6.
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Post by beshocked on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 3:00 pm

Very very bold call Morgannwg. Can you justify your selections?

Can tell you're still upset. Whistle Laugh

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Post by Morgannwg on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 3:12 pm

It's Exeter's year. Them and Gloucester both have good squads and will be the least effected by international call-ups. Quins will continue their good form in the League, Tigers are always there or there-abouts (best club team in England rugby).

What do you think I'm upset about?
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Post by beshocked on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 3:33 pm

I'll let you guess. Wink

Exeter's year? How about I bet you they won't make the playoffs? They are everyone's 2nd favourite team but in my opinion Saints,Quins,Sarries and Tigers all have stronger squads.

International call ups aren't everything. The top 4 bar Quins were affected the most by the RWC and 6 nations yet still were there.

Quins will be hampered by international call ups - something they benefitted hugely from in the 1st half of the season. Plus they are likely to go far in the HC which will also affect their resources.

The top 4 are likely to be what they have in the last 3 seasons - the same three with 1 extra team.


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Post by Morgannwg on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 3:40 pm

Those were my picks, and the point of the article was to pick 4. Exeter were not far off this year and I predict them to go one step better in their third season in the top flight.
And I really don't know what I should be upset about, but I suppose you believe me not picking Saracens in the top 4 is an attack on your team. Oh dearie me.
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Post by HongKongCherry on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 3:45 pm

Morgannwg wrote:Leicester, Harelquins, Gloucester, Exeter. Definitely not vomit.

Saracens and Saints making up the op 6.

Fixed it for you OK
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Post by Morgannwg on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 3:49 pm

HongKongCherry wrote:
Morgannwg wrote:Leicester, Harelquins, Gloucester, Exeter. Definitely not vomit.

Saracens and Saints making up the op 6.

Fixed it for you OK

thumbsup
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Post by beshocked on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 4:03 pm

I think saying Saints won't make the top 4 is pretty bold too.

Morgannwg of course you are entitled to your opinion. It's just I don't agree.

Looking for more of a justification than " I think it's their year".

Exeter and Gloucester had the advantage of virtually no call ups last season.

How do you think Exeter will develop to make that 4th spot? Do you think they'll adopt a more expansive gameplan? Do you believe their player recruitment is particularly good that they'll get that edge?

Is it their mental toughness that admires you?

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Post by doctor_grey on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 4:06 pm

beshocked wrote:Doctor Grey

Who are Saint's options at hooker next season? I know that Long has moved on and Hartley will be with England so whose left?

I really like Saint's prop options though a bit disappointed not to see Tom Mercey and PDJ making a big impact. Your thoughts on them?
Mate, I was just on the phone with a fellow Saints supporter who gave me stick for leaving Mike Haywood off the list of Saint's Hookers. He is a young 'un but a good 'un. One to watch.

At Prop, which I forgot to answer before, in addition to PDJ, we have Alex Waller, who has big potential in my eyes, and also Tom Mercey. I think Saints need to give more time to all three guys and give Brian Mujati and Tiny more rest. The problem is, I think, Saints management gets a little comfortable being able to put out what could be one of the better front rows in world Rugby (not joking here). Makes everything else go well and covers so many cracks. Mujati and Tiny are class guys and terrific players, but I think suffered a bit last season due to overwork. Waller is a tough lad who has a lot of push. He can also run pretty well. Mercey you already know and I would also like to see him get a run of games. Putting out a front row of Waller, Mercey and Haywood would be daring, but could do so much damage, methinks.
I am a bit concerned about PDJ though. Not sure, but he seems a bit slower than earlier. Something to watch.

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Post by beshocked on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 4:26 pm

Doctor grey very true.

You could be critical of quite a few English clubs though for not pushing the boat out more in regards to young English guns.

E.g. at Quins I want to see more of Clegg fighting out for the 10 shirt (though in general Quins are better than most), want to see Exeter experimenting more with their exciting academy guys coming through, at Sarries want to see the likes of George,Kruis and Ransom getting more games, at Leicester the likes of Young,T.Youngs, Anthony Watson at London Irish and so on.

As you say I think Saints do sometimes overplay their first XV. I think the most indicative was that HC final.

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Post by Morgannwg on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 4:32 pm

I admire everything about Exeter beshocked, they are 'The success story' or rags to riches if you like. They were written off and everyone's favourites to go back down when they were promoted, but started going toe to toe with teams like Leicester. They stayed up, and in the following year they made it into the top 6 which means they will get Heineken Cup rugby. They may fail to make a mark in Europe as it will certainly be a step-up from the Amlin. That could see them putting all their efforts into making the Jeff play-offs. The squad and player-recruitment/development is good, and enough to develop into title contenders. From my point of view, teams like Saints are overated. Nullify their illegal scrumming, stand up to them and they seem to run out of ideas.

Gloucester, fresh faces, fresh coach, good propsects; why not? Very Happy
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Post by doctor_grey on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 6:16 pm

beshocked wrote:Doctor grey very true.

You could be critical of quite a few English clubs though for not pushing the boat out more in regards to young English guns.................As you say I think Saints do sometimes overplay their first XV. I think the most indicative was that HC final.
Yeah, I think that Heineken Cup final was the textbook illustration of what can happen without proper rest. That season was probably a reach for Saints, however, as they hadn't built the depth they have now. In many ways, the final season of their post-relegation/promotion recovery.

I agree many teams rely a bit too much on the main guys and don't give enough opportunity to the rest of the squad. Unfortunately, this means I have to give credit to the Evil Empire up the road from Northampton who do mix players in quite well. I truly believe there is a lot of talent and some of it doesn't develop as it might becuase the top XV are played so much. The flip side of that coin is the need to win as much as possible in the Premiership and then the HEC. Teams are so close, talent-wise, it is hard to pick out a match as an easy win. Makes the blooding of new talent an art form.

But as much as we want to see Clegg, for example, get more match time, I have to admit Leicester was confident enough to give the ball to George Ford. If they can do it, so should the rest of us.

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Post by EnglishReign on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 7:20 pm

Went for Tigers, Quins, Sarries and, because I'm biased, Glaws.

Just like how our fixtures have fallen this year, we should benefit from the international break as well seeing as we have a lot of England "nearly men".

Found out today that Olly Morgan is likely to be out until 2013, so Martyn Thomas and Cook need to step up fast.

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