Catch up with Sam Warburton


Ma'afu banned for punch on Tom Youngs


Jebb Sinclair red card for leading elbow


Barbarians too good for England XV


The Top 5 'Big Boppers' in World Rugby


Huge hit by Tonga in Pacific Nations Cup


George Pisi hit makes Shane Geraghty ill


Japanese player loses ball over tryline


Carlos Spencer & Stephen Larkham fight

Friday, November 05, 2010

The best of Sonny Bill Williams for Canterbury in 2010

The best of Sonny Bill Williams for Canterbury in 2010

So the biggest news of the week is that Sonny Bill Williams has been picked to start for the All Blacks against England in Saturday's Twickenham Test. Premature some might say, but for those who have seen him play in recent times, it's well justified.

Williams' rugby union journey has been well documented, starting with him falling out with his NRL team and defecting to France to take up the fifteen man code. While there, under the tutorledge of legendary All Black Tana Umaga, SBW learnt the basics of the game and since heading back to his homeland of New Zealand, has thrived with his new team Canterbury.

In just a few weeks of ITM Cup rugby, Williams has silenced the critics as he's shown those magical touches that league fans will have been treated to for years.

Nobody likes unjustified hype, and while there will always be naysayers whenever someone gets too big for the game, Sonny Bill Williams is a unique player, the likes of which we've not seen in rugby union before. His approach is different to the norm, and what he lacks in experience he more than makes up for in raw talent and confidence in his own ability.

Yes, playing Test rugby for the All Blacks will be a huge leap from what is effectively third division rugby in the NPC, but there's no reason why he shouldn't continue to grow as a player and with just under a year to go till the World Cup, there is plenty of rugby to be played and loads of experience to be gained.

Fast tracked into the All Blacks setup for this end of year tour, Williams has been selected to partner Ma'a Nonu in midfield against England. Things will be tight out there, with less space and more pressure than what he's been used to in recent weeks. There's no doubt however that with ball in hand - usually just the one - Sonny Bill Williams will cause all sorts of chaos for opposition defenders.

This is a video showing his best bits from the past few weeks. Obviously it shows the flash bits, but he's shown that he's a hard worker off the ball too, and isn't afraid to get stuck in when required. Enjoy, and if you do, please share the link via the share or tweet buttons below.


Time: 04:55
Music: Invaders must die - Prodigy
Note: For those in areas where this video won't play, eg: Germany, you can view it here

Posted at 10:08 pm | 61 comments

Viewing 61 comments

Anonymous November 05, 2010 11:17 pm

in few years time. i think he's going to be a legend, the way he offload is beautiful.

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Anonymous November 05, 2010 11:19 pm

in my opinion robbie freuan is a better player, and a more complete one.

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ChinUp November 05, 2010 11:23 pm

Sorry to say this England but the hype around this guy is all deserved!

Also, how is a guy so massive, so fast and so god damm good, so humble? Going to be an amazing weapon in attack and defense foe NZ.

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Bas Horneman November 05, 2010 11:25 pm

Great song. Great Hand-Offs. Great passing.

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WelshOsprey November 05, 2010 11:29 pm

Well he sucked at Toulon but he seems to look the business at the moment.
I thought Nonu & Smith were brilliant together.

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Anonymous November 05, 2010 11:32 pm

Is it just because the video only featured his successful attempts, or is he just that good at offloading.

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black velvet band November 05, 2010 11:37 pm

If he "sucked" at Toulon, I don't think they would've offered him so much money to stay...

But to say he "underperformed" might be true...especially given how well he's lived up to expectations at Canterbury.

I think him and Nonu together will be crazy to watch...unfortunately.

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Anonymous November 05, 2010 11:38 pm

SBW didn't sucked at Toulon. Do you really think he learn to play this good in few months.
He was really good with Toulon but he is probably better with Canterbury, the running rugby makes him shining a lot. And yes he is THIS good at offloading.

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black velvet band November 05, 2010 11:40 pm

"Is it just because the video only featured his successful attempts, or is he just that good at offloading."

More often than not, it really does take two or more defenders to shut him down. So, yeah, he's pretty great at offloads...as well as hand-offs.

It could just be the running, offensive-nature of the ITM Cup that suits him so well, but I'd say it usually takes a pretty clever defense or poor supporting runners to keep him from offloading so well.

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Greiffel November 05, 2010 11:41 pm

As someone said, Fruean is actually looking possibly as good these days. Incredibly unlucky for him not to make the AB tour, but he's still young. Williams and Fruean could possibly be the centre pairing for them for many years though, replacing smith & nonu

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Greiffel November 05, 2010 11:42 pm

And to add to what I said - they're different types of players so will compliment eachother well. SBW though for now is the real deal, imo anyway. Lets see how he does over the next few weeks.

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Anonymous November 05, 2010 11:44 pm

That hand off at 2:20 is ridiculous!

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Demosys November 05, 2010 11:44 pm

I'm very hurry to see him playing with the all blacks. the Nonu-Smith pair is already amazing but I can't imagine what it can be with Nonu-SBW.
Poor England ^^

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ballboy November 06, 2010 12:16 am

Not a patch on Smith. Nothing player compared to him. Good teams will make those 50/50 offloads turnovers.

Not that you'll se NH teams do this. SO he'll do well on tour, then cost he blacks against SA and espically Oz

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felipe November 06, 2010 12:19 am

^ Um, what?

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Anonymous November 06, 2010 12:21 am

never a legend. possibly a great.

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Tony Hart November 06, 2010 12:27 am

Freakish offloading ability. Some sort of magic mutant. Seriously impressive. Btw, what's the song?

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Anonymous November 06, 2010 12:27 am

HUGE handoff at 2:18 :O

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Anonymous November 06, 2010 12:28 am

I know SBW is a big unit, but he looks like he is playing against school kids in some of the clips.

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Chris November 06, 2010 12:34 am

"Well he sucked at Toulon but he seems to look the business at the moment."

Not to anyone who actually saw him play at Toulon.

He sucks at Toulon in the same way Shane Williams sucks at the Ospreys. Ie. not very.

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Chris November 06, 2010 12:46 am

His passes in the tackle are as amazing as ever. It's an aspect of League which is pretty much the norm given the rules. Having only six sets of tackles you see much more competition in the tackle, forwards often force the pass.

SBW was prevelant at this, had an uncanny ability. It's now become the norm for forwards in League a few years later. The problem is you can't really defend against it, efficiently. You either allow the offload or put extra men into the tackle, leaving your defense vulnerable.

Sonny is just one of those freak players who plays great despite breaking the fundamental rules you're taught as a kid.

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Nando November 06, 2010 1:01 am

Good on the kid. Got out of league at the right time. Google "Joel Monaghan dog picture" if you don't agree with that sentiment.

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Anonymous November 06, 2010 2:03 am

that video makes him seem pretty dominant/unstoppable. How long before lomu comparisons start? I live in the US and don't hear NZ rugby news/talk. Has anyone gone that far to talk about SBW and Jonah? He definately has better ball skills, but doesn't appear to have the speed and finishing ability that Lomu had.

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jpm November 06, 2010 2:16 am

Wow...I had heard about his offloading but ...wow...it is insanely good. Best I have ever seen!

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Chris November 06, 2010 3:01 am

Got out of league at the right time. Google "Joel Monaghan dog picture" if you don't agree with that sentiment.

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What's that got to do with anything? Google 'tongan rugby slavery' and 'bees roux murder'.

I think SBW should get out of Union and go play ping-pong!

Your comments are stupid. League is stronger than it's ever been in Australia and New Zealand. Infact, tonight, the NZ Kiwis take on Australia in a game that doesn't matter(both teams meet again next week in final) infront of a packed Eden park, 48,000 expected, highest attendance of any rugby game in New Zealand this year.

The NRL are also negotiating a new potential 1 billion dollar tv deal and regulary has the highest tv viewings for sporting events in Australia. They're also bringing in a new indepedent comission.

Educate yourself before speaking. The only reason NZ got the 2011 WC is beacuse League is rapidly growing there and is a threat to Rugbys popularity in the number 1 rugby nation in the world.

Some lone lunatic isn't a reflection on the sport, no more than the incidents I mentioned above. Rugby League isn't popular globally but the incident in question has shit to do with anything. Why even say that? Sonny himself would laugh at you.

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Chris November 06, 2010 3:04 am

I live in the US and don't hear NZ rugby news/talk. Has anyone gone that far to talk about SBW and Jonah? He definately has better ball skills, but doesn't appear to have the speed and finishing ability that Lomu had.

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No comparison, pretty different players. Only thing they have in common is they were good.

Lomu comparisons are usually reserved for players who run over you, rather than beat you with speed :D

I guess you could argue he could be the second Lomu in terms of superstardom though, if he performs aswell in the Super 15 and international scene as he has been doing.

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Alasdair November 06, 2010 3:07 am

This is looking scary! from a Scotland Fan!

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Jeroz November 06, 2010 3:36 am

go low, he offloads
go high, he got a great left hand fend
even with 2 defenders he can still offload.
Not to mention he has got the size and speed to score solo tries as well

on the paper he looks awesome. If AB can capitalise on his offloads they are more deadly than ever.

The opposition will have to put in a 2nd wave defender to disrupt his offload when he's holding it out in one hand. Once SBW knows when to offload and when to hold onto the ball he will be more lethal than he already is atm.

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fry November 06, 2010 4:25 am

His only main weakness is lack of speed in defense...

I recall an ITM Cup match where two tries were scored by putting him on the backfoot with a kick behind the line; he fumbled and tries were scored. Not really his fault, and I'm sure he'll only get better, but that's really the only way I can think of to get an edge on the guy.

That, or hit him hard at the beginning of the match and hope to tire him out (he does seem to get tired sometimes during matches...but that's only because when he's not resting a bit, he's all over the park).

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Jan November 06, 2010 5:11 am

Bees Roux was stitched up by corrupt cops trying to rob him. Finau Maka was acquitted because an ungrateful algerian asylum seeker in his employ tried to take him to the cleaners. There goes that argument. Better luck next time chris. Also the only reason Its the biggest crowd is because this is the first time this year a test of any kind has been played in the fully completed Eden park. There goes that theory. Oh and By the way, there used to be 45,000 registered League players in NZ, now there are only 20,000. Wow it seems like leagues popularity must be going through the roof! Let me know if you're ever in the area, I'll be sure to keep my dog inside.

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Jeroz November 06, 2010 5:32 am

actually, one combination I would love to see AB try is SBW-Ranger midfield.
Might be more prone to lose ball, but the idea of them both hitting the midfield would be awesome to watch.
Imagine SBW offload to Ranger at full pace.,......

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Anonymous November 06, 2010 6:04 am

as a bok supporter, i'm really not looking forward to sbw's union career. as a rugby supporter, a legend might well be born, if not in the november tests, then in the tri-nations, or rwc. just my two pfennig.

on the side, rugbydump please keep it coming, fantastic site, and alternative links i.e. for germany are always appreciated.

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Flow November 06, 2010 7:30 am

The moment where Tana tries to tackle SBW is so strong.

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Anonymous November 06, 2010 10:22 am

I'm not gay but this man is perfect

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seymourbutz November 06, 2010 10:38 am

He did this for years during his his league career.

"Falling out with his NRL team" lol that's a good one. If league offers him enough money to come back he'll "fall out with his rugby team" too.

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Chris November 06, 2010 11:14 am

Bees Roux was stitched up by corrupt cops trying to rob him. Finau Maka was acquitted because an ungrateful algerian asylum seeker in his employ tried to take him to the cleaners. There goes that argument. Better luck next time chris. Also the only reason Its the biggest crowd is because this is the first time this year a test of any kind has been played in the fully completed Eden park. There goes that theory. Oh and By the way, there used to be 45,000 registered League players in NZ, now there are only 20,000. Wow it seems like leagues popularity must be going through the roof! Let me know if you're ever in the area, I'll be sure to keep my dog inside.

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Hilarious. When it's a Union player they're not guilty, oh no, they're being framed! It's a global conspiracy!??! Get your tin foil hats folks.

Regardless, you clearly didn't understand my argument. I'm not a half wit imbecile who thinks 1 or 2 token lunatics represent an entire sport. Whether or not the 2 Union players in question are guilty or not is irrelivent. The point is it doesn't matter. It's no reflection on the sport itself. Just as 1 rugby league player engaging in a sick act with a dog isn't a reflection on League. Just as Michael Vick isn't representative of the NFL.

It's not a difficult argument to follow. And frankly I don't care for your excuses regarding the gate tonight. The fact is Union in NZ is going downhill, and the only reason they got the WC was to save the sport from dying. Just as it died in Australia.

The reality is in any country where both sports exist on a professional level, League wins out. England? Best tv ratings are all for League. Australia? Best tv ratings are all for league. And the same thing is slowly happening in NZ with the NRL expanding into NZ. Where League has a team(Auckland), it out performs the Union team(Auckland Blues) in popularity. Infact I'm sure I read the NZ Warriors are one of the most watched teams in NZ, period.

45,000 people don't show up to watch a sport they don't like. No matter how much you try to project your own stupidity onto everyone else.

It's not bad though, is it? That such a non relevant sport has the highest gate all year. Can you imagine a NZ vs Aus game in Union breaking gate figures in Australia? Never lol. Could be a futuristic holographic stadium, wouldn't break any gate figures.

As for your final point about playing numbers, back it up. Show me proof that NZ has ever had 45,000 registered League players.

The fact is the NRL is the most professional rugby tournament in either code, and it'll continue to dominate Australia, and further grow in NZ, especially with the inception of a second Kiwi team in the coming years.

One bloke who fecked a dog won't change that. As much as you want it to.

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David November 06, 2010 11:43 am

Being Welsh i can't help but make the PAINFUL comparison between Williams and Jamie Roberts. Jamie is a battering ram when used correctly, and an effective one. but this guy.. He's such a bloody athlete, he has the size and power but he's pretty agile and quick as well. He could probably do amazing at almost any contact sport he put himself to.

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Anonymous November 06, 2010 11:54 am

He'll be straight on the bench as soon as Smith comes back, but not a bad impact player to bring on to mash a side with 20 to go.

As for this weekend, Tindel and Hape stand about as much chance defending against Sonny as i do. Some major yardage incoming

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(u-p)rick November 06, 2010 12:00 pm

*BIG FAVOUR TO ASK* Does anyone remember the video of 'something happening' then a player being injured, then the video pans to the tunnel after the game and the player refuses a handshake with the guy who caused the injury?

Its been driving me mad trying to remember....

Anyone got any idea?

Oh and as for SBW...yeh he's pretty good...

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Greiffel November 06, 2010 12:29 pm

(u-p)rick, that does sound familiar. How far back are we talking, and was it ever posted here on RD?

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(u-p)rick November 06, 2010 12:32 pm

Yeh I think it was, i don't recall where I would have seen it otherwise....

I've tried searching on the site and off...I just can't think of the right tags....

Something in my mind is saying it was a french player who was injured, and im drawn to scrumhalf, but im not 100% about that.... :(

As for how far back...umm..over a year at least...perhaps even 2 years...but like the above im not 100% sure..

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Danny P November 06, 2010 1:09 pm

I dont doubt that he has the hands and feet for International standard, but physically, the step up will be too great for him today, I think he might weel get embarressed, even against a weak England...

Peace out x

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ChinUp November 06, 2010 2:39 pm

@chris

Are you genuine?! How about you back up all your wild claims with fact (and proof). League better than union? You are joking.

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boomer November 06, 2010 2:43 pm

Let's see SBW try his offload antics against the Boks!

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ChinUp November 06, 2010 2:47 pm

Addition to my last.

The only reason league (NRL) has the perception of massive popularity is because of the media deal they have with channel 9 which 9 got for a bargain way back because the NRL was close to bankruptcy. Channel 9 now have the rights to Rugby Union so let see how it pans out over the next 3 years.

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Anonymous November 06, 2010 3:16 pm

Wales vs Australia game on atm.

Aussie scrum is shit (what's new)
Welsh are soft as velvet (that is new)

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Anonymous November 06, 2010 4:22 pm

Both England and Welsh scrums were good today. Pity about the rest of their play! It's all on Irelands shoulders now :)

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fry November 06, 2010 4:55 pm

*BIG FAVOUR TO ASK* Does anyone remember the video of 'something happening' then a player being injured, then the video pans to the tunnel after the game and the player refuses a handshake with the guy who caused the injury?

Elissalde, right?

Search the site for Elissalde, and it's t he one where he gets stamped by Rmy Martin.

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USA7 November 06, 2010 7:21 pm

Good Luck to the poor bast***'s who are supposed to defend nonu and sbw!

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Anonymous November 06, 2010 11:21 pm

League most definitely does not get bigger figures than union in the UK. Is this chris a retarded australian mungo? What's he doing on rugby dump? NZ got the world cup because they deserve it. Fact: Rugby league is the dominant sport in ZERO countries. Even in Australia AFL is bigger. The Auckland Blues have a far better average gate than the warriors so you have no idea what you're talking about. Don't you have a dog to play with Chris?

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Chris November 07, 2010 1:21 am

^^^
Don't call your mum a dog.

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Max November 07, 2010 2:19 am

Haha Chris got Owned and now is having a tanty. Piss off Chris why do we have to put up with RL fanboys on RD? Don't you have that world-renowned Four Nations tournament to worry about? God, I shudder to think about the number of RL trolls we're gonna have on this site when the likes of GI and co jump ship.

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Chris November 07, 2010 9:59 am

League better than union? You are joking.

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Who said that?

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Max November 07, 2010 10:21 am

"Haha Chris got Owned and now is having a tanty. Piss off Chris why do we have to put up with RL fanboys on RD? Don't you have that world-renowned Four Nations tournament to worry about? God, I shudder to think about the number of RL trolls we're gonna have on this site when the likes of GI and co jump ship."

It's the internet mate, anyone can steal someones name and make a poster look like a tit. Not that I can't do that myself after a few too many ales

I'm not a RL troll though lol, I'm just a fan of both codes, like alot of people. I only got into Rugby back in 2005, so wasn't raised with the 1 or the other mentallity alot of fans of either code have. Love Rugby, League and even American football.

What's funny is that on Rugby League forums I'm always getting called a rah-rah troll, for argueing in favour of Union on certain points. On Union forums I'm a 'Mungo troll'

Nobody is saying international League isn't a joke, clearly it is, but you'd be insane to think any domestic Union comp in the world comes close to the NRL. The NRL is at now where the Super 15 will be in 5-10 years.

Most players from both codes respect each other, it's a shame alot of fans on either side are such one-eyed numpties.

Inglis is going to the Rabbitohs, btw. The top 14 transfer deadline ended in August, so a Toulon signing is unlikely. Mundine, Russell Crowe and some random Billionaire have all joined to get him at Souths

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swede November 07, 2010 11:55 am

the guy at 1:32 must be suicidal for messing with SBW!!

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Anonymous December 10, 2010 7:26 am

big fan of both league and union, grew up in new zealand playing alongside and against guys that are now all blacks and guys that made the NRL.
My honest opinion is that rugby is weighed down by the rules of the sport. Refs can have more influence on the outcome than the players do sometimes.
Regardless of the lack of international competition in league the 08 world cup was leaps and bounds ahead of the RWC 07 in terms of excitement.

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jeff December 20, 2010 9:41 am

can offload - wot a player

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