Robbie Henshaw has replaced Garry Ringrose as Ireland's only change for Saturday's decisive Six Nations clash with France in Paris.

Leinster centre Ringrose broke his jaw early in last weekend's 50-17 hammering of Italy after being caught by Edoardo Padovani's knee and will miss the next six weeks.

Fellow Leinster player Henshaw came on for Ringrose at the Aviva Stadium and will now start the crucial clash with France at the Stade de France.

Ireland head into their final match of the elongated tournament knowing that a bonus-point victory will secure a fourth title in seven years.

As a result of Henshaw dropping out of the squad, Chris Farrell has been drafted into the Ireland replacements.

Prop Cian Healy is set to win his 100th cap and Johnny Sexton will once again captain Ireland, who are a point ahead of England – whose final game is against Italy in Rome – and opponents France.

 

Ireland: Jacob Stockdale, Andrew Conway, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Hugo Keenan, Johnny Sexton (c), Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rob Herring, Andrew Porter, Tadhg Beirne, James Ryan, Caelan Doris, Will Connors, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Dave Heffernan, Ed Byrne, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Peter O'Mahony, Jamison Gibson-Park, Ross Byrne, Chris Farrell.

John Cooney has been called up to the Ireland squad for the decisive Six Nations clash with France on Saturday as cover for Jamison Gibson-Park.

Gibson-Park reported he is suffering from hamstring tightness after the 50-17 demolition of Italy at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

Cooney was left out for that match in Dublin after being on the bench for the defeat to England in February before the tournament was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Ulster scrum-half has been drafted in by Andy Farrell ahead of a showdown with Les Bleus in Paris which Ireland start knowing a bonus-point win would secure the title.

Wing Keith Earls is finishing his rehabilitation programme from a back injury and a decision over whether he can face France will be made in the coming days.

Centre Garry Ringrose is out for up to six weeks after suffering a broken jaw in the hammering of the Azzurri.

England trail Ireland by a point but are favourites to be crowned champions as they face Italy in Rome.

Ireland will be without Garry Ringrose for their decisive Six Nations showdown with France after the centre was ruled out for up to six weeks with a broken jaw. 

Ringrose was caught in the face by Edoardo Padovani's knee early in the 50-17 hammering of Italy when the Six Nations resumed at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday. 

The Leinster player, who was replaced by Robbie Henshaw, will miss the trip to Paris for a final match of the tournament that Ireland will start needing another bonus-point win to secure the title. 

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell said: "Garry Ringrose has broken his jaw, so bad news for us all. 

"He's been so good for us the last 10 days, he has been absolutely fantastic with his leadership and he was a big part of the reason why we got what we wanted [versus Italy]. 

"He was unfortunate with his thumb injury earlier in the Six Nations and has come back and had a setback like that which will keep him out for four to six weeks, so we're gutted for Garry."

Ringrose also looks set to sit out the Autumn Nations Cup encounters with Wales, England and Georgia in November. 

Ireland are a point ahead of France and England - who play Italy in Rome - ahead of the final round of Six Nations matches.

Alun Wyn Jones made a record-equalling 148th Test appearance as Wales suffered a 38-21 loss to France in Paris on Saturday.

By representing his country at the Stade de France, Wales captain Jones drew level with New Zealand great Richie McCaw as the most-capped international rugby union players in history.

He was unable to prevent his team from slipping to defeat against France, who will hope to take momentum from their first game since February into the Six Nations finale against leaders Ireland next weekend.

Dan Biggar sent Leigh Halfpenny over for the opening try and added a penalty to put Wales 10-0 up inside 10 minutes, but Cyril Baille and Antoine Dupont crossed to put Les Bleus ahead after the half-hour mark.

Dupont doubled his tally before half-time and, after Biggar and Romain Ntamack traded penalties, he set up Charles Ollivon to score after Josh Adams failed to control a high ball.

Nicky Smith dotted down as Wales made a quick response, but Teddy Thomas chipped over Biggar to seal the win with a stunning solo try.

Hugo Keenan scored a debut double as Ireland coasted to a 50-17 bonus-point thrashing of Italy to go top of the Six Nations table on Saturday. 

Eight months after the clash in Dublin was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Andy Farrell's side secured the maximum points they needed to keep their destiny in their own hands in the battle for the title. 

CJ Stander scored the opening try when Conor Murray was in the sin bin after debutant Paolo Garbisi's penalty gave Italy an early lead behind closed doors at the Aviva Stadium. 

Wing Keenan crossed twice in the first half and had a try disallowed prior to Will Connors touching down a debut score of his own to secure the bonus point, after Edoardo Padovani finished at the other end. 

Johnny Sexton added a fifth try and booted 15 points, with Bundee Aki and Dave Heffernan also scoring before Garbisi went under the posts right at the end. 

Ireland ensured they will face France - who, along with England, they are a point clear of - in Paris next Saturday on the final weekend knowing a bonus-point win will seal the title. 

Murray was yellow carded inside three minutes for conceding a penalty just in front of his own line after Ireland were caught out by an incisive Italy break, Garbisi opening the scoring from the tee. 

Ireland took charge despite being a man down, Stander crashing over from close range before Sexton was on target with a penalty and Keenan finished superbly after Robbie Henshaw - on for the injured Garry Ringrose - picked him out with a whipped pass. 

Keenan had a try chalked off when James Ryan was penalised for obstruction, but he got on the end of scrum-half Murray's kick to round off a swift break prior to the interval and Sexton converted expertly for a third time. 

Italy did not do themselves any favours as they gave away too many penalties, but Padovani plucked a stray pass from Sexton to race away and score 15 minutes into the second half. 

Ireland had the bonus point in the bag soon after, though, Connors dotting down from the back of a driving maul after 61 minutes, then Sexton and Aki added further tries with Italy all at sea. 

Heffernan scored Ireland's seventh from a set-piece and Garbisi marked his debut by scampering away for a try with time almost up in a one-sided contest. 

The Six Nations finally resumes on Saturday with a clash between Ireland and Italy behind closed doors at the Aviva Stadium.

Andy Farrell's side and the Azzurri were due to do battle in Dublin late in February, but the round four game was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ireland were beaten 24-12 by England at Twickenham last time out, but remain in contention for the title, with a trip to face France to come in their final match of the tournament next weekend.

Farrell's men will lift the trophy if they secured bonus-point victories in both matches.

Italy, who will have 20-year-old fly-half Paolo Garbisi in the starting line-up have not won a Six Nations game since beating Scotland in 2015.

We use Opta facts to preview the only round four match that could not be played before the tournament was halted due to the COVID-19 crisis.

- Italy have lost two games in this year's tournament without scoring a point, the first time any side has suffered this fate in the history of the Six Nations.

- Ireland have averaged just 7.7 turnovers conceded per game due to a handling error in the 2020 Six Nations, fewer than any other side. Italy, meanwhile, are the only side to average over 15 total turnovers conceded per game in this championship (15.7).

- Italy have lost each of their last 25 games in the competition, the longest losing run by any side in Five-Six Nations history; only on two occasions in that spell have Italy lost by a single- figure margin (v France 2016, v Scotland 2018).

- Since the start of the 2014 Six Nations, Ireland have lost just one of 17 home games in the championship (against England last year)

- Ireland have won 19 of their 20 Six Nations matches against Italy, a 22-15 shock in 2013 at the Stadio Olimpico the only loss.

- Italy have just two wins across their 52 away games in the Six Nations, both of those victories coming at Murrayfield against Scotland (2007 and 2015).

 

Caleb Clarke has made quite the impression at the start of his international career, forcing Australia captain Michael Hooper to use a rather unique method in an attempt to slow the wing down. 

After making his New Zealand debut off the bench in the Bledisloe Cup opener in Wellington last weekend, Clarke started in the second game between the trans-Tasman rivals in Auckland. 

Clarke capitalised on the opportunity too, earning comparisons to the great Jonah Lomu as his running game helped his side to a resounding 27-7 triumph at Eden Park. 

He beat 12 defenders during the course of the game – the second-highest number recorded by a player in a Test since the beginning of 2010. 

It was on one such burst that Wallabies back-row Hooper made contact with Clarke in a way that certainly caught his attention. 

"You know what, Michael Hooper grabbed my nuts just then," he told Sky Sport in an interview after the game. 

"They were really sore. I turned and tried to push his hand off." 

While watching a montage of his performance, Clarke – whose father, Eroni, played for New Zealand in the 1990s – also admitted that he tried to do the same to Hooper. 

"On this run, I tried to get him back," Clarke said while watching a replay. "Our physio said to get him back, so I tried to do it there." 

He certainly grabbed the attention of those watching on, with George Gregan praising a performance that belied the 21-year-old's lack of experience at the highest level. 

"We saw the makings of a wonderful player during Super Rugby with this man," the former Australia scrum-half said, per Fox Sports. 

"He comes from a pretty good lineage with his father, who we played against in Eroni Clarke, but today just reinforced how important power and precision are and he has the ball skills and went looking for work. 

"He was dynamic, it was a great example of a young man backing himself and his skill-set."

New Zealand head coach Ian Foster felt his side put down a marker for the rest of the series with Saturday's dismantling of Australia in Auckland.

The All Blacks triumphed 27-7, outscoring the Wallabies by four tries to one, in game two of the Bledisloe Cup.

Inspired by young wing Caleb Clarke, the hosts extended their unbeaten run at Eden Park to 44 matches in an impressive response to last week's 16-16 draw in Wellington.

Foster denied feeling relieved at the improved performance but accepts his side have now set a standard to which they must adhere.

"Relief is not something I feel at all," he said. "This is what Test matches are about. If we don't perform to the levels we want to, we know a lot of pressure comes on this team.

"In some ways, they're great weeks. There's nowhere to hide. There's no way anyone can get complacent. And if we thought we were in the house last week, we got a reminder we weren't.

"This week we got a reminder it wasn't good enough – from ourselves and everyone around us.

"It's a pleasing feeling. We've put a marker down, that's the level we need to start at and we've just got to climb because it's a tough series. This is a better Wallabies team than I've seen for a while. They want to stay in the fight, so we had to fight for 80 minutes."

Clarke, 21, earned comparisons with all-time great Jonah Lomu with some powerful running, with one burst forward taking him through five tackles before setting up Ardie Savea to score.

"He just wants the ball and wants to run hard, and it's quite a good thing for us to give him the ball and let him run hard," said Foster.

Indeed, Australia coach Dave Rennie summed up the difference between the two teams as "tackle execution".

"We missed too many tackles and we got put under the heat for it," he said.

"You can't give the All Blacks that much ball, they have too many athletes that can hurt you. But the boys are working hard and I'm pretty confident that in two weeks we will be a better side."

New Zealand preserved their Eden Park fortress after outplaying Australia 27-7 in game two of the Bledisloe Cup on Sunday.

The All Blacks and Wallabies could not be separated in last week's memorable stalemate in the Bledisloe opener in Wellington, however, there was a winner this time around in Auckland.

New Zealand ran in four tries to one as they extended their unbeaten record at Eden Park to 44 matches, while maintaining their undefeated run against the Wallabies at the stadium, which dates back to 1986.

It was a lively start by the Wallabies, who pressed New Zealand back early, but the efficient All Blacks struck first via Richie Mo'unga's penalty.

Beauden Barrett – back in the line-up after sitting out the series opener due to an Achilles tendon problem – almost found younger brother Jordie Barrett with a kick through and while it did not end in a try, the All Blacks did not have to wait long as Aaron Smith crossed over in the 22nd minute after Australia were unable to hold out from close range.

The Wallabies, though, responded as they carved open the All Blacks – a great line break and quick hands seeing Marika Koroibete cut inside two opponents to score the try before James O'Connor converted to reduce the deficit to 10-7 heading into the break.

New Zealand, who have lost just 10 of their 87 Tests at Eden Park, took control in the second half – young winger Caleb Clarke putting on a show to and taking centre stage to help the hosts make the perfect start within three minutes of the interval.

Clarke's pace and power proved too much as space opened up for Jordie Barrett to cross over for a 15-7 advantage and the All Blacks were in again three minutes later.

Another unstoppable run from Clarke, who smashed through Australia's defence, resulted in a New Zealand overload and Ardie Savea added the five-pointer, however Mo'unga missed back-to-back conversions.

The Wallabies – carrying a 16 per cent win rate at Eden Park into the contest, only Great Britain and Scotland have been worse of the teams to have played at least five games at the stadium – thought they had a try in the 50th minute but were held up by some desperate New Zealand defending, while Australia had a try ruled out for a double movement moments later.

New Zealand then went up the other end and extended their lead courtesy of captain Sam Cane, who made light work of Australia's backline following a sweeping move as Ian Foster celebrated his first victory as All Blacks head coach.

A fortress for the All Blacks, and a luckless venue for the Wallabies, Australia face a daunting task at Eden Park on Sunday.

New Zealand are unbeaten in their past 43 matches at the Auckland venue, and the Wallabies' record there is abysmal.

The Wallabies and All Blacks played out a thrilling 16-16 draw in the Bledisloe Cup opener in Wellington.

But New Zealand have held the Bledisloe Cup since 2003 and if history is anything to go by, they will almost certainly head to Australia for the final two games of the series with a 1-0 lead.

We take a look at some of the numbers behind the All Blacks' record at Eden Park.

 

Complete dominance

Not only are the All Blacks carrying an unbeaten run at Eden Park into the clash, it is a ground at which they have been completely dominant.

New Zealand have lost just 10 of their 86 Tests at the ground, winning 73 and drawing three to go at a win rate of 85 per cent.

They have scored 2,449 points and conceded 1,113, those averages sitting at 28.5 and 12.9 respectively.

Beauden Barrett, who is returning from an Achilles injury on Sunday, has scored the most points (100) at Eden Park of any active player. The star has reached that figure in 12 games, but is well adrift of the 202 put together by the great Dan Carter in 14 Tests at the venue.

Barrett may, however, get to the record for most tries scored in Tests there. He has seven of his 36 career tries at the ground, with Stu Wilson (nine) having crossed the most times.

 

Wallabies' woes

Australia are winless against the All Blacks at the stadium since 1986, and their record at Eden Park makes for dismal reading.

The Wallabies have lost 27 of 32 Tests at the ground, going at a win rate of 16 per cent. Of teams to have played at least five games there – against all opponents – that rates as the third worst. Only Great Britain (one win in 11) and Scotland (0 in six) have been worse.

Wallabies assistant Geoff Parling insisted Eden Park was not scary and labelled it "just a rugby pitch" ahead of the clash, but it has proven to be anything but for Australia.

Australia have scored 418 points in their 32 games at the ground at an average of 13.1 per game, while conceding a whopping 809 – an average of 25.3.

But it is the recent record that has been even worse for the Wallabies, who have been on the end of six thrashings since they beat Wales 21-18 at Eden Park to secure third place at the 2011 Rugby World Cup. In those six meetings against the All Blacks, the Wallabies have been outscored 227-55.

That highlights just the enormity of the turnaround the Wallabies need to cause an upset in Auckland.

Australia have made four changes to their team for Sunday's Bledisloe Cup clash with New Zealand at Eden Park.

The Wallabies and All Blacks played out a thrilling 16-16 draw in the series opener last week.

But Australia head coach Dave Rennie has still made four changes as Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Ned Hanigan start, and Liam Wright and Jordan Petaia move onto the bench.

After starting in Wellington, Folau Fainga'a and Pete Samu have dropped out of the team, while Rob Valetini and Noah Lolesio are not in the matchday squad

"We've got a group of 44 men who are all working hard and pushing for selection," Rennie said.

"We've had massive support from back home and as a team we definitely feel that and it's something we'll draw on on Sunday afternoon.

"We know that New Zealand will step it up another level this weekend, we're excited by the challenge ahead."

The All Blacks, meanwhile, have made five changes to their starting side, while prop Alex Hodgman is set to make his Test debut from the bench.

Sam Whitelock is out after suffering a concussion, while in a boost, Scott Barrett returns following a four-month injury absence.

All Blacks star Beauden Barrett also returns, having withdrawn from game one due to an Achilles tendon problem.

"Our preparation this week has been really good," All Blacks head coach Ian Foster said.

"It was our first Test together last weekend and while there were some aspects of our game that we were pretty excited about, especially around our set piece, we didn't get the performance that we wanted, so there has been plenty for us to work on. We need to be smarter with our ball and more focussed defensively.

"The Bledisloe series is back to square one and starts again this weekend, which is exciting. It's the last Test at home for us so there will also be massive excitement amongst our fans. There is everything to play for and we can't wait."

Holders of the Bledisloe Cup since 2003, the All Blacks are unbeaten in 43 consecutive games at Eden Park.

 

New Zealand: Beauden Barrett, Jordie Barrett, Anton Lienert-Brown, Jack Goodhue, Caleb Clarke, Richie Mo'unga, Aaron Smith; Joe Moody, Dane Coles, Ofa Tuungafasi, Patrick Tuipulotu, Tupou Vaa'I, Shannon Frizell, Sam Cane, Ardie Savea.
Replacements: Codie Taylor, Alex Hodgman, Nepo Laulala, Scott Barrett, Hoskins Sotutu, TJ Perenara, Rieko Ioane, Damian McKenzie.

Australia: Tom Banks, Filipo Daugunu, Hunter Paisami, Matt To'omua, Marika Koroibete, James O'Connor, Nic White; James Slipper, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Taniela Tupou, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Matt Philip, Ned Hanigan, Michael Hooper, Harry Wilson.
Replacements: Jordan Uelese, Scott Sio, Allan Alaalatoa, Rob Simmons, Liam Wright, Jake Gordon, Jordan Petaia, Reece Hodge.

South Africa have been given a 48-hour deadline to decide whether they will compete in the Rugby Championship.

The Springboks are due to start the defence of their title against Argentina at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on November 7.

Rugby South Africa (RSA) last week said "several hurdles needed to be cleared" before the organisation can confirm that the world champions will feature in the four-nation competition.

Concerns have been raised over a lack of playing time for South Africa players due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tournament organisers SANZAAR on Wednesday stated that a decision must be made within two days.

A SANZAAR statement said: "The SANZAAR member unions have agreed to provide South Africa Rugby with an additional 48 hours to finalise its internal stakeholder discussions.

"This will now delay the scheduled departure of the Springboks from South Africa to Australia.

"SANZAAR will provide an update on the resolution of these discussions and a timetable for the Springboks participation in the Rugby Championship when available in the coming days."

Finn Russell looks set to feature for Scotland for the first time since the 2019 World Cup after being named in Gregor Townsend's latest squad. 

The Racing 92 playmaker played no part in the Six Nations before the coronavirus-enforced break after being disciplined for a "breach of team protocol" ahead of the opening match against Ireland in Dublin.

It appeared there would be no way back for Russell under Townsend after he told the Sunday Times there would need to be "big changes" for him to resume his Scotland career, taking a dig at the head coach's style and man-management.

Townsend then responded by questioning the number 10's commitment to playing for his country, with Russell also having stated the pair have "no relationship".

Their issues have seemingly been resolved, though, after 28-year-old Russell was named in the 40-man squad for the conclusion of their Six Nations campaign against Wales and the inaugural Autumn Nations Cup. 

The squad, captained by Stuart Hogg, features three uncapped players in Glasgow Warriors prop Oli Kebble, Edinburgh winger Duhan van der Merwe and Harlequins scrum-half Scott Steele.

Townsend told Scottish Rugby's official website: "The squad we have selected is formed by the majority of the players we worked with in the Six Nations alongside players who have grabbed their opportunity in the past few weeks and have been in form for their respective teams."

Scotland begin their autumn Test matches at Murrayfield against Georgia on October 23 before facing Wales in Llanelli on October 31 for the conclusion of their Six Nations.

They will then take on France and Fiji in Pool B of the new Autumn Nations Cup, as well as an away Test match against Italy.

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster insisted Rieko Ioane's botched try was not to blame for New Zealand's wild stalemate against Australia in the Bledisloe Cup opener.

The All Blacks and Wallabies played out a dramatic 16-16 draw in Wellington, where a long-range kick from Australia's Reece Hodge sensationally struck the post in additional time on Sunday.

New Zealand had led 8-3 at the interval through Jordie Barrett's ninth-minute try before Aaron Smith extended the lead early in the second half, but Australia rallied as Marika Koroibete and debutant Filipo Daugunu crossed over.

The All Blacks should have led 13-3 heading into the break, however, Ioane's try on the stroke of half-time was chalked off after failing to ground the ball.

Australia eventually hit back as James O'Connor and Barrett traded penalties during the closing stages before an extra nine minutes were played without a winner, but Foster defended Ioane.

"It would've been useful," Foster told reporters post-game when asked about Ioane's disallowed try, following his first Test as All Blacks coach.

"He's feeling pretty frustrated with himself but that's one of those little lessons players have to go through and I thought he had a reasonably strong game besides that.

"That's why they call it a Test match - you've got to take those little moments and when you get a little bit sloppy in those moments, it can come back and bite you."

Asked if Ioane's error cost the All Blacks who denied Australia first win in New Zealand since 2001, Foster – Steve Hansen's replacement – replied: "Not at all.

"We had a chance to win the game in the last 10 minutes and we weren't good enough to execute on it," Foster said.

"You don't dwell on errors in Test matches - there were a lot of errors before that and there were a lot of errors after that.

"It certainly would've been nice but it's not the reason we drew.

"You make an error, you move on. He's confident young man but he's got to learn from that one little thing."

The All Blacks made 202 tackles against Australia – the second successive match they have been forced to make 200-plus tackles (206 against Wales in November 2019) after not even reaching that mark in any Test prior since 2010, per Opta.

Australia head coach Dave Rennie said the Wallabies are disappointed after coming within a whisker of snapping their New Zealand hoodoo as the Bledisloe Cup opener ended in a dramatic 16-16 draw.

Reece Hodge had the chance to secure Australia's first win in New Zealand in 19 years and first in Wellington since 2000, but the replacement back's monster kick from inside his own half hit the post in additional time on Sunday.

The Wallabies ushered in a new era under Rennie – overseeing his first match in charge since replacing Michael Cheika, just like All Blacks counterpart Ian Foster – rallying through second-half tries from Marika Koroibete and debutant Filipo Daugunu, having trailed 13-3 to Jordie Barrett and Rieko Ioane five-pointers.

And Hodge almost snatched an incredible victory in the 83rd minute after the full-time siren sounded, however, his long-range kick cannoned off the woodwork in wet conditions at Sky Stadium, where James O'Connor eventually kicked the ball out of touch following nine thrilling extra minutes.

"We're disappointed," Rennie told reporters in his post-match news conference. "We're certainly not celebrating in the changerooms.

"We had our chances. I thought we played with a lot of courage."

"We let ourselves down," added Rennie, addressing the breakdown, though the Wallabies won nine turnovers – only the second time in the last decade they have won more in a Test against the All Blacks.

"We found a lot of space in behind them, we had a lot of ball but the quality of our cleanout just wasn't good enough and it's area we need to be better next week. We gave away 14 penalties and a big chunk of those were post-tackle."

"I'm really proud. We were under the pump early," Rennie said. "I thought we defended well for big chunks of the game, we were able to apply pressure through our kick game and scored a couple of good tries at important times.

"We had our chance right at the death, one off the post and then setting up of a drop goal and we ended up going wider. They put you through it!

"The quality of our clean out wasn't good enough and they were able to stifle a lot of ball. We knew the collision area was going to be important and they won that battle."

Both Australia and hosts New Zealand were playing for the first time in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, with a strong crowd in attendance to watch the first of four Bledisloe Cup fixtures.

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper made his 100th Test appearance – becoming just the 12th different player to reach the century mark for Australia – and his 47th as skipper.

Hooper led from the front as the Wallabies impressed against their trans-Tasman rivals, after trailing 8-3 at half-time, with Koroibete and Daugunu crossing over, with the latter becoming just the fourth Australia player since the beginning of this century to score a try when their career Test debut has been against the All Blacks, per Opta.

O'Connor and Barrett traded penalties at the death, after Australia had led with 90 seconds remaining, setting up a grandstand finish.

"It was a good start to our year. We haven’t been together for almost a year," said Hooper.

"We've got a new group here and a few debutants tonight. I’m very proud of our team, they fought all the way through. Man, it was close … a kick off the post … but we go again next weekend and hopefully we’re up to the challenge."

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