Mick McCarthy admitted Robbie Brady is still lacking match fitness after watching the midfielder lead the Republic of Ireland to victory over New Zealand.

Brady set up Ireland's equaliser in their 3-1 friendly win on Thursday when his corner was headed in by Derrick Williams.

But captain-for-the-night Brady left manager McCarthy seemingly unconvinced about his readiness for the biggest battles.

And that may mean he has to settle for a substitute role in Monday's crunch Euro 2020 qualifier against Denmark.

"I think Robbie needs more game time. I don't think he's fully match sharp to be playing and he needs games," McCarthy told RTE. "Yes he can play because he played tonight and yes he's played for Burnley.

"But is he really match-hardened, like 10, 12, 15 games? He’s not and I think he felt that tonight. But he's delighted with being the captain and he's done OK."

McCarthy saw flaws in Ireland's performance, saying that in the early stages "our intensity wasn't that great" but stressing the display was "far better" In the second half.

He was delighted with man of the match Sean Maguire, who scored a brilliant first international goal to cap an enterprising all-round performance.

"He was excellent," said McCarthy, "and he was in training as well this week. He got a great goal – it was a terrific finish."

Sean Maguire staked a claim to be involved in the Republic of Ireland's biggest game for two years by scoring and starring in the friendly win over New Zealand.

Preston North End forward Maguire struck the hosts' second in a 3-1 victory against the All Whites in Dublin, with his first international goal a 20-yard sizzler into the top right corner.

Maguire could have had more goals and created a string of chances for others on Thursday, earning man-of-the-match honours as Ireland came from behind to post a persuasive win.

Ireland's team that faces Denmark in a crucial Euro 2020 qualifier on Monday, however, is sure to show significant changes, given manager Mick McCarthy chose not to risk several key players against New Zealand.

Maguire may still have a role to play, and should he be involved then he knows what another goal would mean to the country, with a victory required to reach next year's finals.

"That would be the perfect scenario – [it doesn't] matter who scores on Monday, as long as we get those three points," Maguire said. "It'd be a special Euros in the summer, potentially having two games in Dublin. All focus is now on Monday night."

The 25-year-old told RTE it was high time he got off the mark for his country and "better late than never" that he finally netted.

"It's just over two years since I made my debut here against Moldova and I suppose it's been a long time coming," Maguire said.

"It was probably the hardest of four or five chances I got tonight, but thankfully I got it out of my feet and struck the ball into the bar corner. I was happy to get my first goal and I think it was important tonight to put on a good performance like we did, heading into the game on Monday.

"Obviously it's a massive game, probably the biggest in a couple of years."

Dressing-room advice from Ireland's record goalscorer Robbie Keane persuaded Maguire it could be his night, and the proof came with the strike early in the second half.

"I felt I was getting into the right areas," Maguire said. "Robbie said to me at half-time, 'Keep making those runs and keep getting into those areas'.

"You dream of these days, especially scoring for your country and I'm absolutely delighted.

"I've been playing off the left a lot this season with Preston and when the gaffer told me before the game I'd be playing off the left I fancied myself to get in position to score a goal."

Sean Maguire pulled the strings as the Republic of Ireland beat New Zealand 3-1 in their Dublin friendly.

The Preston North End forward scored the goal of the game and was the home team's most lively performer, with Blackburn Rovers' Derrick Williams and Sheffield United's Callum Robinson also netting for Mick McCarthy's side.

For all three scorers, the goals were their first at international level.

Youngster Callum McCowatt had given New Zealand a lead on the half-hour mark and he caught the eye more than Burnley's Chris Wood, before the All Whites ran out of steam.

Thursday's clash was a warm-up, ostensibly, for the Republic before a crucial Euro 2020 qualifier against Denmark, but it was a fringe team selected by McCarthy.

The home side had the first clear chance but left-back Williams could only produce a shot-cum-clearance from 12 yards after Alan Browne's cross.

New Zealand – appearing after a 525-day absence from the senior international stage – broke through when the hosts' backline was picked apart and McCowatt slid home a fine cross from the left by Liberato Cacace.

It made for a promising start to the reign of new head coach Danny Hay, the former Leeds United and New Zealand defender who in August succeeded Fritz Schmid in the post.

However, Ireland ultimately overpowered their visitors. Williams surpassed his earlier wayward effort on the stroke of half-time, heading in Robbie Brady's corner for an equaliser.

New Zealand captain Winston Reid was substituted at half-time, the West Ham defender having made his first senior appearance since March 2018 after a knee injury.

Ireland went in front after 52 minutes when Maguire cracked a 20-yard strike into the top-right corner, and he created a string of chances for others.

Robinson grabbed the Republic's third in the 75th minute, meeting Lee O'Connor's fine cross from the right with a stooping header from eight yards.

 

What does it mean?

Not even McCarthy was seriously looking for a statement performance to send out a warning to Denmark. The XI that faces the Danes will be pretty much unrecognisable, as McCarthy has already acknowledged. This game afforded the kids a chance, seeing who might become contenders for a tournament Ireland might not even reach. For New Zealand, a new dawn under Hay means dreams of reaching the Qatar 2022 World Cup finals. The more games they play, the better. Just what have they been doing for the last year and a half?

Maguire stakes a claim

On a chilly night in Dublin, Maguire was a livewire on the right side of Ireland's front three. He may be the big beneficiary of this friendly, a player that could come in and make things happen for the Irish back at their home stadium on Monday.

Voting with their feet

The Irish public made it clear what they thought of this game. The stands were half empty, being generous, for what was a glorified training game. It will be a different story on Monday.

What's next?

Beat Denmark next week and the Republic will be through to the Euro 2020 finals. New Zealand will not face another near 18-month wait for a fixture, with their next game coming up on Sunday against Lithuania.

Sonny Bill Williams is determined to "turn some heads" with Toronto Wolfpack after revealing he took "stick" from team-mates over another cross-code switch.

Fresh from representing New Zealand at the Rugby World Cup, Williams has given up the 15-a-side game for another dabble in the 13-player code.

It will be a third stint in rugby league for the 34-year-old, who has also competed in professional boxing, and he has vowed to make an impact with the Super League newcomers.

He comes in on a salary worth a reported £2.6million per year, unprecedented money for a single player in the sport, with his signing a statement of intent by his new employers.

"As Toronto players, I think we're going out there to turn some heads," Williams said on Thursday. "But then also the amount of support the lads have back in Toronto, it sounds crazy.

"It's a journey, there's a bit of pressure there but it's so exciting."

He was speaking in London at a news conference to announce his arrival in the UK-centred league, with Toronto the ambitious Canadian outfit who played their first match less than three years ago.

Next term will be their first in the top tier, and Williams said he felt "really grateful and blessed for this opportunity but I understand what I'm coming into".

He is confident the level of pressure that will be on him and Toronto is something he can thrive on, explaining he was offered the chance to join coach Brian McDermott's team "around the World Cup time".

Speculation linking him to Toronto had been bubbling along for months, and Williams decided the time was right to leave Auckland-based Super Rugby side the Blues when a deal was tabled.

"Obviously the lads in the teams I've been playing for were giving me stick but I hadn't heard anything from the club. Once it all came about it came to fruition really quickly," Williams said.

"But I just go back to the conversations that I had with Brian. Yes, I'm a sportsman, but I need to have that purpose, something I really believe in, and just his philosophy, how he wants to play the game, I feel like the way I strive to play the game, I could be really suited to their style of play."

McDermott knows the new acquisition will raise the profile of Toronto's team, and Super League as a whole, after pointing to the huge numbers of television viewers that saw Williams in World Cup action.

"They're going to follow where he's gone to and take interest," McDermott said. "Now they may have no interest whatsoever to start with in Super League or the Wolfpack, but they are now going to do that."

Kane Williamson has been passed fit to captain a New Zealand Test squad to face England and Australia that includes uncapped paceman Lockie Ferguson.

A hip injury kept Williamson out of the five Twenty20 internationals on home soil against England, with the tourists earning a 3-2 series victory thanks to a Super Over triumph at Eden Park on Sunday.

The 29-year-old batsman has recovered in time to lead the Black Caps in the inaugural Test at his home ground of Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, which begins next Thursday.

New Zealand will then face England again at Seddon Park from November 29 before a trio of Tests against trans-Tasman rivals Australia, the first of which takes place at Optus Stadium in Perth.

"Kane's made good progress over the past fortnight and we're delighted to welcome back a player of his class and experience," said selector Gavin Larsen.

"It's obviously going to be a very special Test for him and Trent Boult being such passionate locals - we know there's already a lot of excitement in that part of the Bay of Plenty."

Williamson will be joined by Ferguson, who has earned his maiden Test call-up after becoming a key cog for the Kiwis in white-ball cricket.

The 28-year-old paceman has claimed 153 wickets in 42 first-class matches at an average of 24.30.

"There's no doubt Lockie has been knocking on the door for a while now and we're delighted to finally bring him into the Test fold," Larsen said.

"It's well documented he has raw pace, but he also possesses a quality bowling skill set and has proven durability to stay on the park.

"He showed good form against England in the recent T20 series and backed that up with a solid outing for the Auckland Aces in the Plunket Shield where he claimed 4-23 against the Wellington Firebirds.

"Our pace bowling stocks are strong at the moment and we feel Lockie will add another dimension to the picture which will create some great competition."

 

New Zealand Test squad: Kane Williamson (c), Todd Astle, Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Jeet Raval, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling.

Warren Gatland said he "politely declined" the chance to put his name forward for the New Zealand job as he had already committed to the Chiefs and the British and Irish Lions.

Gatland's long tenure as Wales head coach came to an end after the reigning Six Nations champions were beaten by the All Blacks in a Rugby World Cup third-place play-off in Japan at the start of this month.

The New Zealander signed a four-year deal to return to his homeland as Chiefs boss in June, during which time he will take a year away from the Super Rugby franchise to coach the Lions in South Africa in 2021.

Gatland says he has not applied to replace Steve Hansen as New Zealand head coach after already agreeing to take on two alternative roles.

"It was nice to be contacted [but] I politely declined putting my name forward," he told Radio Sport.

"I'm a little bit old school... I'd made the commitment to the Chiefs and I'd made the commitment to the Lions, it was important that I carry on with that ... honour the commitment I made to those two sides.

"Maybe sometime in the future I may get that opportunity again."

Alastair Cook has full confidence in the ability of new England coach Chris Silverwood to revamp the Test side, starting off with the tour of New Zealand.

England face New Zealand in a two-match series later in November, having already won a five-match Twenty20 series 3-2 thanks to another super over triumph against the Black Caps.

Several of England's star players, such as Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Test captain Joe Root, were not included in the T20 squad, allowing them more time to recover following the World Cup and Ashes.

Silverwood, meanwhile, has replaced Trevor Bayliss, and Cook has no doubt he is the right coach, and Root the right captain, to lead England into a new era of Test cricket after frustrating performances in recent series.

"New Zealand is a good place for Chris Silverwood and Joe Root to start a new cycle," former England skipper Cook told ESPNcricinfo.

"It's only a two-match series, which is a bit of a shame, as their recent history has brought some cracking matches. You feel a long way away from everywhere, it doesn't have the hype of an Australia or India series, but they are a brilliant side, and it's a great but tough place to play cricket.

"Clarity, that is one thing [Silverwood] will bring. He's very clear on what he wants and it's very simple what he wants. The players will know, they'll be very well prepared, they'll know exactly what he demands of them."

Cook also believes Silverwood's "hands-on" approach will benefit Root, whose captaincy was called into question throughout the Ashes.

"He'll be a real helping hand for Joe Root, taking a lot of pressure off Root in terms of off-field stuff," Cook said.

"Trevor was a very hands-off coach, and he had a lot of success, but there are different ways of skinning cats, and you can see that Joe needs that support around him. That's quite obvious, and Silverwood and his team will give a bit more than Trevor did.

"I'm not saying that's right or wrong, but I think that's what will happen. I think we'll see the next stage of Root's England captaincy career.

"Looking back on my [time as captain], I think I took two and a half years to feel totally comfortable in the role, in terms of what you know, what you want from the side, and how you go about all the extra demands.

"Root is at that kind of stage, I think he'll bat at No. 4 again, and I'm expecting another spike from him."

Jonny Bairstow has been reprimanded by the ICC for his reaction to being dismissed in England's series-clinching Twenty20 International win over New Zealand on Sunday.

Bairstow has been given one demerit point for using an audible obscenity after edging Jimmy Neesham behind for 47 in the tourists' run chase at Eden Park.

The batsman admitted breaching 2.3 of the ICC Code of Conduct as he left the field in Auckland.

England won the series 3-2 after coming out on top in another Super Over thriller.

Bairstow was last week called up to the Test squad as cover for Joe Denly, who is nursing an ankle injury.

 

 

Tim Southee is ready to turn his attention to the Test series with England after New Zealand experienced further heartbreak against the tourists.

New Zealand lost the Twenty20 rubber 3-2 after England sensationally prevailed in a Super Over in Auckland on Sunday.

Eoin Morgan's men defeated the Black Caps to win the Cricket World Cup on home soil in July via a Super Over after the scores were level at the end of 100 gripping overs – the hosts prevailing on a boundary count-back.

And New Zealand tasted more tie-break misery at Eden Park after England scored 17 from their additional six balls compared to the Black Caps' eight.

Chris Jordan's last-ball boundary had tied the match in regular time for England, who reached 146-7 from 11 overs in the rain-affected T20 decider after New Zealand posted 146-5.

With New Zealand left to pick up the pieces following another nail-biting defeat, stand-in skipper Southee – leading in the absence of injured captain Kane Williamson – switched his focus to the upcoming two-Test series, which gets underway on November 21.

"The shorter the game, the harder the side can go," Black Caps paceman Southee said afterwards.

"They just kept coming hard and it would have been nice to have one more run there somewhere but it wasn't to be.

"It was a good series, sort of ebbed and flowed throughout, but at the end of the day it was good cricket and finished off with some good entertainment here. It will be good to get the whites back on."

England captain Morgan also heaped praise on New Zealand following another remarkable showdown between the two teams.

"I said this after the World Cup final, they are actually a great team to aspire to be like. The way they carry themselves and perform," Morgan told reporters.

"The Black Caps fans have been so receptive and hospitable while we've been here, it's been such a pleasure to come here and play."

Jonny Bairstow said England "don't want to keep this happening" after his team-mates needed a Super Over to beat New Zealand in the fifth and final Twenty20.

England defeated the Black Caps to win the Cricket World Cup on home soil in July via a Super Over after the scores were level at the end of 100 gripping overs – the hosts prevailing on a boundary count-back.

A boundary count-back was not required in Auckland on Sunday, however, after England claimed a 3-2 series win over the Black Caps.

England scored 17 from their additional six balls after reaching 146-7 from 11 overs to tie the match in the rain-affected T20 decider, with New Zealand restricted to eight runs in reply.

"We don't want to keep this happening, I don't think," Man of the match Bairstow told Sky Sport afterwards.

"I don't think anyone wants to keep that going but it just shows how close the sides are and how close it's been throughout the series and it sets up what's going to be a fantastic Test series as well."

After New Zealand posted 146-5, England opener Bairstow scored 47 runs from just 18 deliveries to rescue the tourists from 9-2 before Chris Jordan hit a last-ball boundary to force a Super Over.

"I don't feel like I've potentially scored as many as I wanted during the series so to contribute in a shortened game, obviously the pitch here is quite favourable for the batters, so to get some runs was pleasing," said Bairstow, who posted eight runs in the Super Over.

"It was pretty imposing to try and chase down 150 but a lot of the guys played in the T10 last year and said, 'look, we're not far off here if we can get within striking distance with the small boundaries, we've got a chance'."

England captain Eoin Morgan added: "Surprised we got any sort of a game in today with the weather that was around but it's always nice to play here.

"We chopped and changed a little bit and the guys coming in did a really good job. The Black Caps played well again, bowled really well and there was nothing between the sides for the 11-over game.

"And then, the Super Over, I thought the standout was Chris Jordan, a guy who's extremely calm under pressure and delivers."

History repeated as England prevailed over New Zealand after a Super Over to claim a 3-2 series victory in a rain-affected fifth Twenty20 in Auckland.

There was no boundary count-back required to separate the teams, as had been the case in July's Cricket World Cup final at Lord's, thanks to Chris Jordan's nerveless all-round performance and moments of brilliance from Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan.

Jordan entered with three balls left of the second innings and crashed 12 runs off Jimmy Neesham to lift England to 146-7, level with the lofty total the Black Caps achieved in their 11 overs.

The experienced seamer then restricted New Zealand to eight runs from their six balls as the home side fell well short of the 17 compiled by Morgan and opener Bairstow, who earlier laid the platform for Jordan's heroics on Sunday.

Bairstow hit two fours and five sixes in an 18-ball 47 to get England out of trouble – the tourists having been reduced to 9-2 at the start of the second over.

Captain Morgan chipped in with a quick-fire 17 and Sam Curran justified his promotion up the order with a crucial knock of 24 off 11 balls.

Jordan just about completed the job with the bat, levelling the scores with a four off the final delivery, after finishing with figures of 0-28 from his two overs in the first innings.

Colin Munro (46), Martin Guptill (50) and Tim Seifert (39) looked to have posted a winning score for the Black Caps following a delayed start to proceedings but the latter pair failed to fire in the Super Over.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Seifert produced a lone boundary from four balls faced before Morgan took a sensational catch running backwards to take the air out of the home crowd.

Guptill and Colin de Grandhomme managed only another single between them as World Cup winners England celebrated their come-from-behind series victory.

Wayne Bennett offered no excuses for Great Britain Lions' dismal form on the tour of New Zealand and is concerned his side have gone backwards.

Great Britain - touring as the Lions for the first time since 2007 - have lost all three of their Tests, one against a Tonga Invitational XIII and two versus New Zealand.

Their form hit a new low on Saturday in Christchurch, as the Kiwis cruised to a 23-8 victory.

Bennett acknowledged Great Britain's performances have not been up to scratch, and with only two players in the squad not capped by England – who he has coached since 2016 – he feels they have regressed since reaching the 2017 Rugby League World Cup final.

"They played much better than we did, that's probably the best way of summing it up. There could be a thousand excuses, but that's the reality," Bennett told a news conference.

"We're back to where we were in 2016 when I first came in as coach. We're not respecting the opposition enough with how much discipline we have to play with.

"I'm not happy we're going backwards. I think we've gone backwards a little bit from what last year and the World Cup year was, compared with how we've played this series.

"It's probably a whole lot of things. To come out at the start and play the nines, we only had half a team and then a week of preparation, a lot of little things there, but the bottom line is New Zealand have played really well in the last few games and we're just a bit off the pace.

"Next year and the World Cup year are the prime years. There have been a lot of players here who haven't played before, tried a few different combinations. If we have to have a bit of a stumble, this is the year to do it in, rather than next year or the year after."

Seven Great Britain players ply their trade in the NRL, and Bennett pointed to the gap in quality between Super League and the Australian competition as another factor in the poor results.

"I think one of the things that affected us this time is that we didn't have a mid-season Test and our preparation time going into the Tonga game wasn't enough," Bennett added.

"Also, virtually every player in the New Zealand, Australia and Tonga teams play in the NRL. There's a standard in the NRL and we have to come up to that standard." 

Great Britain round off their tour against Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby on November 16.

Alastair Cook has no concerns over Jonny Bairstow's ability to rediscover his best form in Test cricket after he was called up to cover for Joe Denly ahead of England's tour of New Zealand.

After an indifferent Ashes series, wicketkeeper-batsman Bairstow was left out of England's Test squad for the two-match series, which starts on November 21 at Mount Maunganui.

Denly has played no part in the ongoing Twenty20 series against the Black Caps, which is tied at 2-2 heading into the final match after David Malan's record-breaking hundred earned the tourists a 76-run win in Napier on Friday.

While Denly, who has suffered ankle ligament damage, is hopeful of being fit for a three-day warm-up match against a New Zealand Cricket XI, which starts on November 15, England have confirmed Bairstow – who has hit just 43 runs from his three innings so far on the tour – will remain in the country as cover.

Despite Bairstow's initial omission from the squad, former England captain Cook, the all-time leading run-scorer in Tests for his country, has backed the Yorkshireman to step up if required.

"He is a world-class player," Cook told Sky Sports. "His white-ball career has flourished, but he has struggled a little bit for form in the Test arena.

"He had such an impact at the top of the order after moving up to opener a couple of years ago – he was opening the batting with David Warner in the IPL – but I think that has probably made him stay a little bit legside of the ball and, as a consequence of that, he is probably getting bowled a little too often in the red-ball game.

"The break will do him good. He got left out of the Sri Lanka tour last year, when he was injured, and he then came back in at number three and got a hundred straight away.

"He has been called up probably for logistics as well. It's a long way to fly someone over to New Zealand when he is already out there as cover.

"It will be good for him to reassess where he's at with Test cricket. When you get dropped, it's that line in the sand and it's about how you respond to that.

"Knowing Jonny and his competitive spirit, it will give him a little kick up the backside and he'll be back scoring runs for England, because good players like him respond."

Cook also hailed Eoin Morgan's decision to stay on as ODI and T20 captain after England's triumph over New Zealand in the World Cup.

"I suppose the tempting thing is to always go out on a high," said Cook. "The pinnacle, standing at Lord's, his home ground, after such an amazing World Cup win. How do you top that?

"But, actually, with the T20 World Cup only 12 months away - they got to the final in 2016 - I think there is some unfinished business there.

"The way he is striking the ball at the moment is fantastic; he has played really, really well over the last two years or so - and the way he leads the team, I would have been surprised had he not carried on."

Tim Southee is praying the deciding game of New Zealand's back-and-forth T20 series against England does not end in a tie after his country's haunting Cricket World Cup final defeat to the same opponents.

England beat the Black Caps to win the showpiece on home soil in July via a super over after the scores were level at the end of 100 gripping overs.

The two sides are now closely matched once again, with the five-game T20 series level at 2-2 after England's 76-run win in Napier on Friday.

Inspired by Dawid Malan hitting England's fastest T20 century (103 not out from 51 balls) and captain Eoin Morgan, who hit 91 from 41 deliveries, the tourists triumphed to set up a decider in Auckland on Sunday.

Asked about the chance of a tie, stand-in New Zealand captain Southee (1-47) said: "We've been there! Hopefully it doesn't come down to that."

Of his side's heavy defeat, with New Zealand only making 165 in response to England's 241-3, Southee added: "That can happen in T20, the guys will learn from it and move on. Good thing is we go again in two days. 

"It's more about guys learning from the experience of being put under pressure by Morgs and Malan - the only way is to take wickets."

Regular skipper Kane Williamson, who is not playing in the series due to a hip injury, has been training with his team-mates and is confident he will be fit for the first Test against England at Mount Maunganui on November 21.

He has only batted four times since that World Cup final defeat and explained to Sky Sports: "It's been an ongoing niggle that comes and goes.

"It is settling, which is nice. A lot of [the last few months] has been rehab to get the hip right. 

"I had a four-dayer recently and there's a gap between this series and the first Test, so it's basically training going into it.

"If you're looking at perfect preparation, gametime can be nice - spending time in the middle - but it'll be tough to come by seeing as there's not a lot of cricket between now and then. 

"So it's just trying to get the mindset right to go on and execute your plans as well as you can."

Dawid Malan credited Eoin Morgan with providing him the momentum to break records in England's Twenty20 victory over New Zealand on Friday.

Malan scored England's fastest T20 century by smashing an unbeaten 103 from 51 balls, while captain Morgan raced to 91 off just 41 deliveries in Napier.

The duo shared 182 runs as the tourists reached an imposing 241-3 – England's highest partnership and innings total in the format.

The Black Caps were skittled for 165 in response, Matt Parkinson claiming figures of 4-47, as Morgan's men clinched a 76-run triumph that levelled the series at 2-2 ahead of the final game in Auckland on Sunday.

"The message is always the same, play aggressively and back yourself," said Malan, who hit nine fours and six maximums.

"It's not very often you have days like that when every time you have a hack at one it lands safe or goes for six. It's as good as it gets.

"I felt like I had rhythm today, glad I clicked especially with these short boundaries.

"It helps batting with Morgs as well, he changed the momentum of the game and I piggybacked him a bit. To do it on the biggest stage is a fantastic experience."

Morgan added: "It was quite a clinical performance. Myself and Dawid have played for a long time together at Middlesex and we know each other pretty well.

"It was enjoyable, we had a lot of laughs out there. It was a beautiful wicket to bat on."

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