Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

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Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by Griff on Tue 20 Jun 2017, 12:25 pm

First topic message reminder :

Too early?!  Never mind.

So, big changes are afoot at Dave Parade.  There's been loads of arguments about the best way forward, the pros and cons of regional v club rugby, and I'm sure there'll be many more to come.  But what's done is done and, for now, we have a pro team at Dave Parade to support next year.  A few weeks ago even that was in jeopardy.  So moving forward...

Ownership:
So the WRU has taken over the reigns.  I'll add updates here as and when we know them, but the formal split from Newport RFC should mean 'cleaner' or more straightforward to understand revenue streams.  

Pitch:
A new one is being laid as we speak.  This original pitch has been part and parcel of the problems at RP for a number of years.  A BBC report showed it to be up there as the most used pitch pro pitch in the UK.  Something had to be done.  A fully synthetic pitch was mooted and preferred by some, a al Blues, Saracens, Glasgow, et al.  However, FA rules state that football clubs cannot play on these surfaces (probably since the AstroTurf days of Luton Town, etc.).  So it looks like a compromise has been agreed with a 4g semi-synthetic pitch, like those used by many football clubs, Swansea City/Ospreys, Millennium Stadium, Aviva Stadium, Twickenham, Murrayfield, Cardiff City stadium, etc.  A weave of synthetic fibres and real grass meaning it's easier to maintain, less prone to weather damage, but still sort of like the real thing.  This will be a real move forward and should improve the product on the field.  A bit.

Personnel:
New coach - Huw Jackman.  Comes with a good reputation for hard work and attacking rugby.  Good stuff.
Gavin Henson - I'm happy with this.  Despite his knockers, so to speak, he is still a classy club player and performed well in the English Prem with Bristol, when not injured.  Which is the crux of the issue.  Hopefully we can keep him fit for an extended run of games.
Zane Kirchner - On paper a quality player but as with a lot of good players, when they are in the twighlight of their careers and join a 'lesser' club more often than not they do not perform as expected.  Let's hope he is an exception to the rule.  Did Jackman and Kirchner play together at Leinster?


Transfers In:

Bernard 'No Pudding' Jackman - coach
Gavin Henson
Zane Kirchner

Transfers Out:
Shaun Knight
Nick Crosswell
Tom Prydie
Geraint Rhys Jones
Darren Harris
Craig Mitchell


New Badge:



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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by Stone Motif on Wed 13 Sep 2017, 2:02 pm

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:Jackman was talking about keeping our composure when we're in the opposition 22. Pretorius isn't the most composed of players, but at least he's likely to make the breaks that get us into the opposition 22. He does make things happen.

Plus with Amos and Hewitt on the pitch we have players who can get on his shoulder, they just need to be ready for it. Play structured off Gav and let Pretorious do his thing.
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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by mikey_dragon on Wed 13 Sep 2017, 2:53 pm

munkian wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:Sarel is the best No.9 at the region without a doubt. A bit greedy yes, but he scores tries. Is Warren due back soon?

Charlie Davies is tidy too.

Not sure on Warren. Really really hope Griffiths is back.

I think he's a bit lacking in pace. I think Owen Leonard is a better passer of the ball despite his nervy start in Scotland. That leaves us with Knoyle who's rubbish at everything.

A shame. I thought Beard and Warren worked really well together. Some recent stats I've seen also suggest Morgan was better than I previously thought.

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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by RiscaGame on Wed 13 Sep 2017, 4:21 pm

Warren's fit, he's just playing in the Prem I thought?

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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Thu 14 Sep 2017, 12:28 pm

Dragons: Z Kirchner, A Hewitt, T Morgan, J Dixon, H Amos, G Henson, S Pretorius, B Harris, E Dee, L Brown, R Landman, C Hill (captain), H Keddie, O Griffiths, J Benjamin. Replacements: G Ellis, T Davies, L Fairbrother, M Screech, R Blake, O Leonard, D Jones, J Rosser.

Connacht: T O’Halloran, D Leader, T Farrell, B Aki, R Scholes, J Carty, C Blade, D Coulson, T McCarthney, C Carey, Q Roux, J Cannon, E Masterson, J Heenan, J Muldoon. Replacements: D Heffernan, P McCabe, D Robertson-McCoy, G Thornbury, J Butler, K Marmion, S Crosbie, E Griffin.


Robson Blake on the bench!

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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 14 Sep 2017, 12:49 pm

"Pretorius lines up alongside Gavin Henson at half-back, with the former WEales international making his third consecutive league start for the region."

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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by Stone Motif on Thu 14 Sep 2017, 1:13 pm

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:Dragons: Z Kirchner, A Hewitt, T Morgan, J Dixon, H Amos, G Henson, S Pretorius, B Harris, E Dee, L Brown, R Landman, C Hill (captain), H Keddie, O Griffiths, J Benjamin. Replacements: G Ellis, T Davies, L Fairbrother, M Screech, R Blake, O Leonard, D Jones, J Rosser.

Connacht: T O’Halloran, D Leader, T Farrell, B Aki, R Scholes, J Carty, C Blade, D Coulson, T McCarthney, C Carey, Q Roux, J Cannon, E Masterson, J Heenan, J Muldoon. Replacements: D Heffernan, P McCabe, D Robertson-McCoy, G Thornbury, J Butler, K Marmion, S Crosbie, E Griffin.


Robson Blake on the bench!

I don't get that back row at all. Whilst he's right to drop Thomas, why move them all around? Griffiths can do 6.5 or 8 better than Benjamin can do 8, arguably he's a better six than Keddie as well, though HK is probably a six long term so I can cope with that.
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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by Marshes on Thu 14 Sep 2017, 1:36 pm

Hi lads, hope you don't mind if a wandering Connacht fan joins you for discussion this week.

Couple of questions for you:
How has Jackman been settling in and got you playing so far?
Any young lads there to keep an eye out for as rising stars?
How has Henson been playing?
The match isn't available to watch anywhere is it?

From a Connacht perspective there is a significant bit of rotation there in our pack: Buckley, Bealham, Dillane, Sean O Brien, Butler out from last game - Coulson (under Jackman last year), Carey, Roux, Heenan and Masterson in. Forwards had been going well in the first two games so little bit nervy about those front row changes, particularly as we don't have Buckley or Bealham off the bench to secure the scrum if it is floundering. The rest should be able to retain the quality.

In the backs Blade has come in for Marmion, who had a fairly busy summer. Blade has great potential but not at the same level of tempo as Marmion so could be rattled if we start losing the battle up front. Rory Scholes couldn't get into the Edinburgh team but had a decent pre-season with us, although he is replacing Healy who I also feel is a step up in quality. Having TOH back is a big boost.

I'll also be interested to see more of Crosbie who came from the Irish League through Munster, he looked very composed when he came off the bench last week!


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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Thu 14 Sep 2017, 2:35 pm

Not at all! OK

Well we haven't won a game yet under Jackman, but a) we played Montpellier, Northampton, Exeter and Glasgow in pre-season, and b) we've tended not to win games for a while. The opening game against Leinster was disappointing, but we played much better rugby against Edinburgh and you could see the kind of game Jackman wants us playing - using the full width of the pitch, being prepared to play from deep, forwards handling and looking to offload, and in fairness the players looked comfortable playing that way. We made plenty of line breaks - 'Hewitt beating nine defenders, the most by any player in the weekend of PRO14 action, and Amos and centre Tyler Morgan making three clean breaks each'* - only to panic a bit in their 22, and we continued to let in soft tries (we've got a dedicated defence coach at last, but he hasn't been in post long).

The team's virtually full of young local players, but I'd say the players to look out for would be Leon Brown and Elliot Dee in the front row, Ollie Griffiths in the back row, and both wings, if you haven't heard of them. Also, Robson Blake on the bench is a lump and they think a lot of him, but it would be his league debut. It's quite a youthful team all round though, apart from Henson and the Saffers.

Speaking of Henson, he didn't have a great game at all against Leinster, but he was pulling the strings nicely against Edinburgh until Sam Beard got injured and they moved him into midfield (as I recall it - but we were a bit shapeless after that).

As far as I know, it's not being televised. Of course, BBC Wales could be showing it, instead of sending a team over to Belfast to show a game that BBC Northern Ireland are covering anyway, but there you go.



* http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/sport/dragons/15529834.Wales_wing_Amos__Dragons_have_to_be_ruthless_to_bag_elusive_win/

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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 14 Sep 2017, 2:51 pm

If Griffiths is at open-side then I would have him at 7 on defensive scrums, and at 8 on attacking scrums. Interested to see this Robson Blake. I'll probably pop down Friday night.

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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Thu 14 Sep 2017, 2:54 pm

I've just noticed Max Williams isn't on the bench, is he injured or do they just think we're a bit lightweight otherwise?

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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 14 Sep 2017, 2:58 pm

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:I've just noticed Max Williams isn't on the bench, is he injured or do they just think we're a bit lightweight otherwise?

I would have put him at 6 and dropped JB. I think he's worth more game time to see if he settles in. He has potential for sure.

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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Thu 14 Sep 2017, 3:11 pm

There's no rush with him I suppose.

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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by Marshes on Thu 14 Sep 2017, 5:30 pm

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:Not at all! OK

Well we haven't won a game yet under Jackman, but a) we played Montpellier, Northampton, Exeter and Glasgow in pre-season, and b) we've tended not to win games for a while. The opening game against Leinster was disappointing, but we played much better rugby against Edinburgh and you could see the kind of game Jackman wants us playing - using the full width of the pitch, being prepared to play from deep, forwards handling and looking to offload, and in fairness the players looked comfortable playing that way. We made plenty of line breaks - 'Hewitt beating nine defenders, the most by any player in the weekend of PRO14 action, and Amos and centre Tyler Morgan making three clean breaks each'* - only to panic a bit in their 22, and we continued to let in soft tries (we've got a dedicated defence coach at last, but he hasn't been in post long).

The team's virtually full of young local players, but I'd say the players to look out for would be Leon Brown and Elliot Dee in the front row, Ollie Griffiths in the back row, and both wings, if you haven't heard of them. Also, Robson Blake on the bench is a lump and they think a lot of him, but it would be his league debut. It's quite a youthful team all round though, apart from Henson and the Saffers.

Speaking of Henson, he didn't have a great game at all against Leinster, but he was pulling the strings nicely against Edinburgh until Sam Beard got injured and they moved him into midfield (as I recall it - but we were a bit shapeless after that).

As far as I know, it's not being televised. Of course, BBC Wales could be showing it, instead of sending a team over to Belfast to show a game that BBC Northern Ireland are covering anyway, but there you go.
* http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/sport/dragons/15529834.Wales_wing_Amos__Dragons_have_to_be_ruthless_to_bag_elusive_win/

Cheers lads!

Would you say Jackman's style is similar to the way Pat Lam had Connacht playing? We played Grenoble a number of times and I felt they had a very similar style to us (as you mention) playing from deep and offloading, better skills from the pack etc. Took a while for it to bed in with our lads (trying to teach subtlety to big farmhands), and for a while it can result in leaking soft tries or at least cheaply giving up possession, but once players get used to it is really exciting to watch and can be very effective. If the young bucks there are looking comfortable with it then hopefully it can bed in pretty quickly!

Will keep an eye out for the new kids on the block, Amos and Morgan have impressed whenever I've seen them, I ask about Henson because if he has the leadership skills to get that backline moving there are players like them who can make the breaks outside him. But its been ages since I have actually seen him in action, don't know what level of quality he is capable of!

Yeah didn't think it was televised. Not only is that Ulster game on two BBC channels, it is also on TG4 over in Ireland which normally has the Connacht games. The league is capable of some rank amateurism at times in it's marketability.

Also I imagine the Connacht support will have a pretty warm response to seeing Bernard Jackman, he was very well received for the Grenoble games Smile


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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by RiscaGame on Thu 14 Sep 2017, 6:36 pm

I think we will see some impact off the bench (carrying wise), from Blake and Ellis.

I had a feeling Dorian would be involved this week.

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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by munkian on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 9:39 pm

'ave it.

Hopefully we'll be able to cover the 3 possible injuries
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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by RiscaGame on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 10:56 pm

Haven't enjoyed myself like that at Dave for a long time. First half was brilliant before the three injuries inevitably stalled our momentum. That first try was a beauty. Totally agree with Dee being MOTM.

Had a good feeling all day about tonight, but that was better than I expected too.


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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by mikey_dragon on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 11:05 pm

A lot of fans felt the same, after not having felt that way in a long time. Amos' try was superb.

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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by RiscaGame on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 11:39 pm

I bet they did.

I've just been reminded of it, but my favourite moment of the match was Brok's break. Fantastic stuff laughing


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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by Stone Motif on Sat 16 Sep 2017, 12:27 am

We'd have lost that last season. Especially with the injuries and the try after half time for them. Undeniably progress, baby steps but progress nonetheless.
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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by Stone Motif on Sat 16 Sep 2017, 8:36 am

Kirchner out for a bit. Carl Meyer to come back in I guess.
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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by RiscaGame on Sat 16 Sep 2017, 9:27 am

I think so. Or maybe Hughes or Warren on to the wing.

I agree we'd have fallen apart and lost that last season.

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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by Stone Motif on Sat 16 Sep 2017, 9:58 am

RiscaGame wrote:I think so. Or maybe Hughes or Warren on to the wing.

I agree we'd have fallen apart and lost that last season.

I hope we don't mess Hallam round. He's not a full back.
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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by RiscaGame on Sun 17 Sep 2017, 1:08 am

I personally thought Hallam wasn't as bright once he moved to 15. I don't see him as a 15. Just guessing what Jackman might do.

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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by Stone Motif on Sun 17 Sep 2017, 9:17 am

RiscaGame wrote:I personally thought Hallam wasn't as bright once he moved to 15. I don't see him as a 15. Just guessing what Jackman might do.

I'm not sure how good Meyer is at distributing but seem to recall he played in midfield for Ebbw. We just need someone who can come in to the line and move the ball to runners. I'd even look at Henson there if Dixon stays in good form.
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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by Stone Motif on Sun 17 Sep 2017, 2:29 pm

Oh ho! Which back row forward carried the most metres again I wonder...


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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by Stone Motif on Mon 18 Sep 2017, 10:57 am

http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/sport/15540107.Dragons_ready_to_ring_the_changes_for_Ulster_clash_in_PRO14/

This could be car crash. I can't even guess at how bad the team will be be...
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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Mon 18 Sep 2017, 11:39 am

Stone Motif wrote:
RiscaGame wrote:I personally thought Hallam wasn't as bright once he moved to 15. I don't see him as a 15. Just guessing what Jackman might do.

I'm not sure how good Meyer is at distributing but seem to recall he played in midfield  for Ebbw.

I'm sure he played outside half in South Africa too.

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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by mikey_dragon on Mon 18 Sep 2017, 1:39 pm

Meyer was probably put to 15 because of his height, I'd have him back there for now and keep Amos on the wing as Amos is much better at joining the line from wing than on others during our attacking plays.

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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by munkian on Tue 19 Sep 2017, 2:05 pm

DRAGONS SIGN VERSATILE CENTRE THRETTON PALAMO


The 28-year-old linked up with the Welsh Region on Monday at their Ystrad Mynach training base, as they prepare for their GUINNESS PRO14 clash against Ulster this weekend at the Kingspan Stadium.

The versatile player, who can play in the centre and on the wing, joined Bristol in 2016/17 will add support to the Dragons backs due to the recent injuries a few members of the squad have sustained.

The American International represented the USA during the 2007 Rugby World Cup, becoming the youngest player in history to feature in the tournament at that time.

Dragons Head Coach, Bernard Jackman commented: “He is a really good athlete, he is powerful and strong and has been surrounded by good environments since when he was with Saracens as well as during his time at the American 7s programme for the Olympics.

“I know him from when he was with Saracens and he’ll be a good addition to the squad, I look forward to seeing him play.

“He will be included in the match-day 23 for Ulster."
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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by Stone Motif on Tue 19 Sep 2017, 6:19 pm

USA USA USA etc.
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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by Griff on Tue 19 Sep 2017, 8:33 pm

Haven't heard much about him. Hasn't played a lot for the clubs he's been at (zero for Biarritz, couple of times for Sarries, a dozen or so for Bristol, etc.). Hope he's not another Andy Tuilagi for us! Although for some reason I feel more confident in Jackman's judgment than I have in previous coaches, although I've got little to base that on. Good luck Thretton!

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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by Griff on Tue 19 Sep 2017, 8:35 pm

I'm hoping he can Thretton the opposition try line quite a bit! picard

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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by munkian Yesterday at 6:29 am

Does this mean Tyler is out for a while ? Gutted if true, it looked like he was enjoying his rugby again before he went off.
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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by RiscaGame Yesterday at 8:19 am

I overheard Tyler saying at the end, his ribs were gone but the story in the Argus says it's not too bad.

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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by munkian Yesterday at 8:31 am

RiscaGame wrote:I overheard Tyler saying at the end, his ribs were gone but the story in the Argus says it's not too bad.

Feel for the guy if it is long term
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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by Luckless Pedestrian Yesterday at 2:37 pm

It's Sam Beard who's out for a while:

'Beard will undergo an operation after tearing his left pectoral muscle against Edinburgh a fortnight ago while Tyler Morgan suffered a minor rib injury in last Friday’s 21-8 win against Connacht.

'Adam Warren, who has not featured so far this season, was set to play in Belfast but has strained a hamstring and won’t be risked'

http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/sport/dragons/15544250.UPDATED__Dragons_sign_USA_centre_after_midfield_injury_blows/

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Re: Dragons Season Thread 2017/18 - New Beginnings

Post by munkian Yesterday at 2:44 pm

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:It's Sam Beard who's out for a while:

'Beard will undergo an operation after tearing his left pectoral muscle against Edinburgh a fortnight ago while Tyler Morgan suffered a minor rib injury in last Friday’s 21-8 win against Connacht.

'Adam Warren, who has not featured so far this season, was set to play in Belfast but has strained a hamstring and won’t be risked'

http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/sport/dragons/15544250.UPDATED__Dragons_sign_USA_centre_after_midfield_injury_blows/

Bugger. Still want to see Gavlar at 12 at some point.
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