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England v Fiji: talking points ahead of kick-off at Twickenham

England v Fiji September 2015 Rugby World Cup photos Close

Fiji's Nikola Matawalu passes away during the Rugby World Cup match at Twickenham. David Davies/PA Wire.

Fiji's Nikola Matawalu passes away during the Rugby World Cup match at Twickenham. David Davies/PA Wire.

PA

Leone Nakarawa of Fiji is tackled by Mako Vunipola and Sam Burgess of England during their Rugby World Cup match at Twickenham.  Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images.

Leone Nakarawa of Fiji is tackled by Mako Vunipola and Sam Burgess of England during their Rugby World Cup match at Twickenham. Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images.

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England's flanker Tom Wood (C) beats Fiji players to the ball in a line-out in the Rugby World Cup. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS.

England's flanker Tom Wood (C) beats Fiji players to the ball in a line-out in the Rugby World Cup. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS.

AFP/Getty Images

Fans enjoy the atmosphere while watching England's Rugby World Cup match against Fiji at the opening night of the Fullers Clubhouse in London. Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images for Fullers

Fans enjoy the atmosphere while watching England's Rugby World Cup match against Fiji at the opening night of the Fullers Clubhouse in London. Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images for Fullers

Getty Images for Fullers

Scrum-half Ben Youngs is tackled by Fiji's winger Waisea Nayacalevu during the England-Fiji clash at the Rugby World Cup. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS.

Scrum-half Ben Youngs is tackled by Fiji's winger Waisea Nayacalevu during the England-Fiji clash at the Rugby World Cup. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS.

AFP/Getty Images

Fiji's and England's players in a scrum  in their Rugby World Cup match at Twickenham. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS.

Fiji's and England's players in a scrum in their Rugby World Cup match at Twickenham. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS.

AFP/Getty Images

Fiji fans in traditional watch their team's clash against England in the Rugby World Cup at Twickenham. Steven Paston/PA Wire.

Fiji fans in traditional watch their team's clash against England in the Rugby World Cup at Twickenham. Steven Paston/PA Wire.

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England's fullback Mike Brown (up) falls over England's scrum-half Ben Youngs in the Rugby World Cup clash against England. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS

England's fullback Mike Brown (up) falls over England's scrum-half Ben Youngs in the Rugby World Cup clash against England. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS

AFP/Getty Images

Fiji's fly-half Ben Volavola takes a drop kick during the Pool A match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup against England. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL.

Fiji's fly-half Ben Volavola takes a drop kick during the Pool A match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup against England. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL.

AFP/Getty Images

England's fullback Mike Brown (L) celebrates after scoring a try during a Pool A match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup between England and Fiji at Twickenham. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL.

England's fullback Mike Brown (L) celebrates after scoring a try during a Pool A match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup between England and Fiji at Twickenham. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL.

AFP/Getty Images

Nemani Nadolo of Fiji scores a try under pressure from Anthony Watson of England during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool A match between England and Fiji at Twickenham.  Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Nemani Nadolo of Fiji scores a try under pressure from Anthony Watson of England during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool A match between England and Fiji at Twickenham. Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

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England's winger Jonny May (L) reacts as England is awarded  a penalty try during their Rugby World Cup match against Fiji at Twickenham. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS.

England's winger Jonny May (L) reacts as England is awarded a penalty try during their Rugby World Cup match against Fiji at Twickenham. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS.

AFP/Getty Images

Fiji's winger Nemani Nadolo (L) and England's winger Anthony Watson vie for the ball during their Rugby World Cup clash . AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS.

Fiji's winger Nemani Nadolo (L) and England's winger Anthony Watson vie for the ball during their Rugby World Cup clash . AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS.

AFP/Getty Images

Waisea Nayacalevu of Fiji evades a tackle by Ben Morgan of England during their  Rugby World Cup Pool match at Twickenham.  Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Waisea Nayacalevu of Fiji evades a tackle by Ben Morgan of England during their Rugby World Cup Pool match at Twickenham. Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

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Fiji's Ben Volavola fumbles the ball resulting in a knock on during the Rugby World Cup match at Twickenham Stadium. Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.

Fiji's Ben Volavola fumbles the ball resulting in a knock on during the Rugby World Cup match at Twickenham Stadium. Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.

PA

Ben Youngs (L) and George Ford of England tackle Waisea Nayacalevu of Fiji during their 2015 Rugby World Cup match.  Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Ben Youngs (L) and George Ford of England tackle Waisea Nayacalevu of Fiji during their 2015 Rugby World Cup match. Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

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Samoa's players perform the Siva Tau ahead of their World Cup clash against England at Twickenham. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS.

Samoa's players perform the Siva Tau ahead of their World Cup clash against England at Twickenham. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS.

AFP/Getty Images

England's players line up while Samoa's perform the Siva Tau prior to their Rugby World Cup match at Twickenham. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE.

England's players line up while Samoa's perform the Siva Tau prior to their Rugby World Cup match at Twickenham. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE.

AFP/Getty Images

England enter the pitch ahead of their Rugby World Cup Pool match against Fiji. Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

England enter the pitch ahead of their Rugby World Cup Pool match against Fiji. Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

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England and Fiji observe the national anthem ahead of their Rugby World Cup match at Twickenham Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

England and Fiji observe the national anthem ahead of their Rugby World Cup match at Twickenham Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

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England head coach Stuart Lancaster ahead of the match against Fiji at Twickenham. Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster ahead of the match against Fiji at Twickenham. Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

PA

Fiji players huddle together prior to the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool against England at Twickenham. Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Fiji players huddle together prior to the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool against England at Twickenham. Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images

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England fans take a photo with a man in Fijian dress before the Rugby World Cup match at Twickenham Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday September 18, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU England. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.

England fans take a photo with a man in Fijian dress before the Rugby World Cup match at Twickenham Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday September 18, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU England. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Strictly no commercial use or association without RWCL permission. Still image use only. Use implies acceptance of Section 6 of RWC 2015 T&Cs at: http://bit.ly/1MPElTL Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further info.

PA

English rugby fans wait for the opening ceremony of the 2015 Rugby World Cup at Twickenham stadium in south west London on September 18, 2015.
AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE
RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE, NO USE IN LIVE MATCH TRACKING SERVICES, TO BE USED AS NON-SEQUENTIAL STILLSFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

English rugby fans wait for the opening ceremony of the 2015 Rugby World Cup at Twickenham stadium in south west London on September 18, 2015. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE, NO USE IN LIVE MATCH TRACKING SERVICES, TO BE USED AS NON-SEQUENTIAL STILLSFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

England fans in full team colours and painted faces wait in the sunshine for the first match of the Rugby World Cup 2015, with England facing Fiji at Twickenham Stadium in London on September 18, 2015. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

England fans in full team colours and painted faces wait in the sunshine for the first match of the Rugby World Cup 2015, with England facing Fiji at Twickenham Stadium in London on September 18, 2015. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

An England supporter shows his support ahead of the Rugby World Cup match at Twickenham Stadium, London.

An England supporter shows his support ahead of the Rugby World Cup match at Twickenham Stadium, London.

PA

An England fan waits outside a pub in Twickenham before the Rugby World Cup match at Twickenham Stadium, London.

An England fan waits outside a pub in Twickenham before the Rugby World Cup match at Twickenham Stadium, London.

PA

England's head coach Stuart Lancaster (C) leads a training session at Twickenham Stadium, south west London, on September 17 FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

England's head coach Stuart Lancaster (C) leads a training session at Twickenham Stadium, south west London, on September 17 FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Tom Wood is held by Anthony Watson during an England training session

Tom Wood is held by Anthony Watson during an England training session

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Ben Youngs passes the ball during a training session. David Rogers/Getty Images

Ben Youngs passes the ball during a training session. David Rogers/Getty Images

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England fans enjoy the atmosphere

England fans enjoy the atmosphere

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A giant rugby ball on the walls of Cardiff Castle to mark the start of the Rugby World Cup. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday September 18, 2015. People in the Welsh capital were greeted with the unusual sight ahead of two matches to be played at the Millennium Stadium this weekend. See PA story SPORT Rugby Cardiff. Photo credit should read: Benjamin Wright/PA Wire

A giant rugby ball on the walls of Cardiff Castle to mark the start of the Rugby World Cup. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday September 18, 2015. People in the Welsh capital were greeted with the unusual sight ahead of two matches to be played at the Millennium Stadium this weekend. See PA story SPORT Rugby Cardiff. Photo credit should read: Benjamin Wright/PA Wire

PA

Mayor of London Boris Johnson (left) with England Rugby World Cup winner Jason Leonard before a practice rugby match with students at the Haverstock School in Camden, London, where the mayor launched a ?100,000 fund to boost grassroots participation in the sport. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday September 18, 2015. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Mayor of London Boris Johnson (left) with England Rugby World Cup winner Jason Leonard before a practice rugby match with students at the Haverstock School in Camden, London, where the mayor launched a ?100,000 fund to boost grassroots participation in the sport. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday September 18, 2015. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire

PA

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 18:  Waisake Naholo of the All Blacks  during a New Zealand All Blacks gym session at Lensbury on September 18, 2015 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: Waisake Naholo of the All Blacks during a New Zealand All Blacks gym session at Lensbury on September 18, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

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Scotland's winger Sean Lamont poses after Scotland's official welcoming ceremony  at the Gloucester Cathedral  in Gloucester on September 17, 2015, on the eve of the beginning of the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup.  AFP PHOTO / LOIC VENANCE
RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USELOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images

Scotland's winger Sean Lamont poses after Scotland's official welcoming ceremony at the Gloucester Cathedral in Gloucester on September 17, 2015, on the eve of the beginning of the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup. AFP PHOTO / LOIC VENANCE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USELOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Japan's full-back Ayumu Goromaru (L) attends a team training session at Brighton College in Brighton, on September 17, 2015, on the eve of the opening match of the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup.     AFP PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE

RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USELIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images

Japan's full-back Ayumu Goromaru (L) attends a team training session at Brighton College in Brighton, on September 17, 2015, on the eve of the opening match of the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup. AFP PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USELIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

 Wales fullback Liam Williams in action during the Wales kickers practice at Millennium Stadium on September 18, 2015 in Cardiff, Wales.

Wales fullback Liam Williams in action during the Wales kickers practice at Millennium Stadium on September 18, 2015 in Cardiff, Wales.

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TOPSHOTS
Italy's prop Martin Castrogiovanni (L) and flanker Samuela Vunisa (C) pose before entering a cryotherapy chamber at the University of Surrey in Guildford, south England on September 16, 2015 2015 aheard of the Rugby Union World Cup which begins on September 18.  AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE
RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

TOPSHOTS Italy's prop Martin Castrogiovanni (L) and flanker Samuela Vunisa (C) pose before entering a cryotherapy chamber at the University of Surrey in Guildford, south England on September 16, 2015 2015 aheard of the Rugby Union World Cup which begins on September 18. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Australia's fly half Bernard Foley (R) attends a team training session at the University of Bath on September 16, 2015, in Bath prior to the start of the Rugby World Cup 2015. 
AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BUREAUMARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images

Australia's fly half Bernard Foley (R) attends a team training session at the University of Bath on September 16, 2015, in Bath prior to the start of the Rugby World Cup 2015. AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BUREAUMARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Embargoed to 0001 Friday September 18

Undated handout photo issued by the Royal Mail of one of a selection of eight stamps which have been launched to mark the start of the Rugby World Cup 2015. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday September 18, 2015. Royal Mail said the eight-stamp set conveys the excitement and skill of the game. See PA story CONSUMER Stamps. Photo credit should read: Royal Mail/PA Wire

NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

Embargoed to 0001 Friday September 18 Undated handout photo issued by the Royal Mail of one of a selection of eight stamps which have been launched to mark the start of the Rugby World Cup 2015. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday September 18, 2015. Royal Mail said the eight-stamp set conveys the excitement and skill of the game. See PA story CONSUMER Stamps. Photo credit should read: Royal Mail/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

PA

TOPSHOTS
Workers set up the structure for a giant rugby ball on the pitch of the Twickenham Stadium, west London, on September 15, 2015, ahead of the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup. Twickenham Stadium will host the Rugby Union World Cup's opening match between England and Fiji on September 18, 2015.  AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYSGABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

TOPSHOTS Workers set up the structure for a giant rugby ball on the pitch of the Twickenham Stadium, west London, on September 15, 2015, ahead of the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup. Twickenham Stadium will host the Rugby Union World Cup's opening match between England and Fiji on September 18, 2015. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYSGABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Italy's flanker Mauro Bergamasco poses after a press conference at hotel the team is taying at in Guildford on September 15, 2015, ahead of the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup. The 2015 Rugby World Cup starts on September 18.  AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

Italy's flanker Mauro Bergamasco poses after a press conference at hotel the team is taying at in Guildford on September 15, 2015, ahead of the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup. The 2015 Rugby World Cup starts on September 18. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

BATH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joe Tomone (R) sits with his team mates during the Rugby World Cup 2015 Australia Welcome Ceremony at The Bath Assembly Rooms on September 15, 2015 in Bath, England.  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images for ER2015)

BATH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: Joe Tomone (R) sits with his team mates during the Rugby World Cup 2015 Australia Welcome Ceremony at The Bath Assembly Rooms on September 15, 2015 in Bath, England. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images for ER2015)

Getty Images for ER2015

Embargoed to 0001 Friday September 18

Undated handout photo issued by the Royal Mail of one of a selection of eight stamps which have been launched to mark the start of the Rugby World Cup 2015. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday September 18, 2015. Royal Mail said the eight-stamp set conveys the excitement and skill of the game. See PA story CONSUMER Stamps. Photo credit should read: Royal Mail/PA Wire

NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

Embargoed to 0001 Friday September 18 Undated handout photo issued by the Royal Mail of one of a selection of eight stamps which have been launched to mark the start of the Rugby World Cup 2015. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday September 18, 2015. Royal Mail said the eight-stamp set conveys the excitement and skill of the game. See PA story CONSUMER Stamps. Photo credit should read: Royal Mail/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

PA

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17:  Captain Chris Robshaw of England passes the ball during the England Captain's Run on the eve of the opening Rugby World Cup 2015 match against Fiji at Twickenham Stadium on September 17, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Captain Chris Robshaw of England passes the ball during the England Captain's Run on the eve of the opening Rugby World Cup 2015 match against Fiji at Twickenham Stadium on September 17, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Handout photo dated 16/09/2015 provided by Synergy of MasterCard Rugby World Cup 2015 ambassador Jonah Lomu, alongside 100 volunteers including the Ngati Ranana London Maori Club, perform the Ka Mate haka in Covent Garden, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday September 16, 2015. Photo credit should read: Tom McGovern/Handout/PA Wire. NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

Handout photo dated 16/09/2015 provided by Synergy of MasterCard Rugby World Cup 2015 ambassador Jonah Lomu, alongside 100 volunteers including the Ngati Ranana London Maori Club, perform the Ka Mate haka in Covent Garden, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday September 16, 2015. Photo credit should read: Tom McGovern/Handout/PA Wire. NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

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Fiji's Nikola Matawalu passes away during the Rugby World Cup match at Twickenham. David Davies/PA Wire.

England open the 2015 World Cup against Fiji at Twickenham on Friday evening. We examine some of the game's talking points.

FORM LINE

Four successive runners-up finishes in the RBS 6 Nations are evidence of an England team that has yet to scale the heights and mixed fortunes in the warm-up games against France and Ireland have added to the uncertainty. Fiji will offer a good gauge of the team's health.

PRESSURE COOKER TWICKENHAM

Stuart Lancaster and his coaching team have made all the right noises about England being ready to embrace he expectation that comes with being tournament hosts. A tight match against Fiji will speak volumes about their temperament on the big occasion.

FIJI'S SET PIECE

England have stated their gameplan extends far beyond targeting Fiji's scrum, but they know that even after months of drilling by head coach John McKee the set piece remains a weakness to be exploited. The Red Rose will demand forward dominance.

FIJIAN MAGICIANS

Scrum-half Niko Matawalu, Nemani Nadolo and Niki Goneva are Fiji's main threats and if England allow the game to become loose and fragmented, it will suit the Islanders' devastating backs.

REPRECUSSIONS FOR WALES AND AUSTRALIA

Events at Twickenham will make important viewing for England's Pool A rivals Wales and Australia, who will be analysing the hosts' weaknesses as they plot their route out of the toughest group in World Cup history.

 

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