- Munster Rugby
Nickname(s) The Red Army Founded 1879 Location Munster, Ireland Ground(s) Thomond Park
Coach(es) Anthony Foley (Assistant & Forwards)
Laurie Fisher (Forwards)
Paul McCarthy (Scrum)
Shaun Payne (Manager)
Mick Galwey (Squad Advisor)
Bryce Kavanagh (Fitness)
Anthony Coole (Medical & Physio)
Ian Costello (Skills)
Tom Comyns (Strength & Conditioning)
Captain(s) Paul O'Connell Most appearances Peter Stringer (223) Top scorer Ronan O'Gara (2,296) Most tries Anthony Horgan (41) League(s) Celtic League 2010–11 1st (Champions)1st kit2nd kit Official website www.munsterrugby.ie
The team represents the Irish Rugby Football Union Munster Branch which is one of four primary branches of the IRFU, and is responsible for rugby union in the Irish province of Munster. Their main home ground is Thomond Park, Limerick, though some smaller profile games are played at Musgrave Park, Cork. Munster currently play in a red and blue home strip, while the away strip is white striped horizontally with the colours of the six counties of Munster. The Munster Rugby logo consists of three crowns and a stag. The team motto is "To the brave and faithful, nothing is impossible"; it is derived from the motto of the MacCarthy clan – "Forti et Fideli nihil difficile".
Munster is known for its passionate support and games involving Munster hold several Heineken Cup records for highest attendances in every stage of the finals, as well as the highest ever attendance for a rugby game in both Spain and Switzerland. In 2008, Director of Coaching Declan Kidney left to take up the head coach job with Ireland, and Munster ensured continuity by promoting Australian Tony McGahan to the position from within the coaching setup.
Heineken Cup, Challenge Cup and Celtic League
Munster finally reached the Heineken Cup quarter-finals in 1998/99, after three years of not being able to get out of the group stages.
Munster's first appearance in the competition's final was in the season 1999/2000, where they lost by one point to Northampton at Twickenham. Nevertheless, that season was most memorable with a fantastic win over Toulouse 25–31 in Bordeaux.
Their good form and bad luck continued in the following year (2000/01) with a semi-final defeat to Stade Français, again by one point, where a try by John O'Neill  was disallowed by the referee, as he deemed the ball out over the dead ball line.
In 2001/02 Munster lost the last match of their pool at Castres, but qualified as best runners-up. Munster beat Stade Français 16–14 in Paris. The only try of the game coming from Anthony Horgan. It was then on to Béziers to meet Castres for the semi-final. Munster were triumphant and went to the final at Millennium Stadium to meet the reigning champions, Leicester. Munster lost a tight game remembered as 'the hand of Back' final as a Leicester flanker used his hand illegally in a scrum when Munster had a last-chance attack. Munster also reached the final of the Celtic League this season, but lost to Leinster, 24–20 at Lansdowne Road, Dublin.
In 2002–03, they reached the quarter-finals after a win against Gloucester, later issued on VHS under the title "The Miracle Match". In this game, Munster needed to win by a margin of at least 27 points and score a minimum of four tries to earn a quarter-final berth. They won 33–6 with four tries in a game that has become part of Munster rugby folklore. They again faced Leicester, this time at the Tigers' home of Welford Road, and defeated the reigning champions to progress to the semi-finals. They faced Toulouse in the semi-finals and lost out on a place in the final after losing by a single point in France. In this season, Munster won the Celtic League for the first time by beating Neath, 37–17 at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff.
In 2003–04 it was more of the same. After an assured performance in the Pool stage they defeated Stade Français at Thomond Park to set up a semi-final date with English champions Wasps. This was considered one of the best Heineken Cup matches of all time. Although leading by 10 points in the second half, having already lost Ronan O'Gara to injury early on, they succumbed to 2 Wasps tries in injury time resulting in a Wasps v Toulouse final. Munster finished in a disappointing seventh position in the 2003/04 season of the Celtic League.
In 2004–05, after a shaky performance in the Pool stage, they qualified as 5th seeds and played Biarritz away. The match was played at Real Sociedad's ground, the Anoeta Stadium, in San Sebastián in Spain — the first Heineken Cup game ever played in Spain. Biarritz won 19–10 to avenge a 38–29 defeat at the same stage in 2001. Munster secured an impressive position of second in the 2004/05 season of the Celtic League.
In 2005–06, Munster qualified to the final of the Heineken Cup, having overcome rivals Leinster 30–6 in the semi final at Lansdowne Road. The final was held at the Millennium Stadium against Biarritz. Munster won 23–19 to become European champions for the first time. Munster finished one place lower than the previous season in the Celtic League, finishing third overall.
2006–07 was a disappointing season for Munster, losing their previously unbeaten European record at Thomond Park, by going down to the Leicester Tigers in the group stages. They later lost the quarter final to the Llanelli Scarlets. Munster's performance in the Celtic League was equally disappointing, finishing sixth overall.
In 2008, Munster signed Doug Howlett, the all-time leading try scorer for New Zealand. That season's Heineken Cup saw Munster finish top in their group, and they went on to reach the final for the second time in three years beating Saracens in the semi final. The final, again held at the Millennium Stadium, saw Munster defeat Toulouse 16–13 to claim their second Heineken Cup title in 3 years. Munster finished third in the Celtic League for the 2007–08 season.
In the 2008–09 season, Munster once again topped their group in the Heineken Cup and reached the semi-final, but lost to arch-rivals Leinster by 25–6, attended by a world record crowd of over 82,200. On 30 April 2009 Munster clinched the Celtic League for the second time in their history after closest challengers the Ospreys beat the Newport Gwent Dragons but failed to claim a bonus point, this handed the title to Munster who could not be overtaken at the top of the table.
The 2009–10 season saw Munster finish top of their Heineken Cup pool once again. Victories over Northampton Saints, French Top 14 champions USA Perpignan and Italian side Treviso saw Munster qualify for the Heineken Cup Quarter Finals for a record 12th consecutive year. The match took place in Thomond Park where Munster played Northampton Saints for the third time that season running out winners 33–19 and by four tries to one. They lost 18–7 in the semi-finals to Biarritz at the Anoeta. Munster came 4th in the Celtic League, but because this season saw the introduction of a play off system for the top four teams, Munster met and lost 16–6 to Leinster in the play-off semi final .
The 2010-11 season saw Munster drawn in Pool 3 of the Heineken Cup alongside Ospreys, London Irish and RC Toulon. Munster lost 23–17 away to London Irish, before defeating RC Toulon 45–18 at Thomond Park. Munster defeated Ospreys 22–16, but lost the reverse fixture at Liberty Stadium 19–15. In round 5 Munster went to Toulon, losing 32-16. As a result, Munster failed to qualify for the quarter finals of the Heineken Cup for the first time in 13 years. Munster won their final pool game, at home to London Irish, 28-14, and qualified for the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter finals. Munster defeated Leinster 24-23 on 2 April 2011 in the Celtic League, ending a run of 5 straight defeats. Munster defeated Brive 37-42 in their Amlin Challenge Cup quarter final to qualify for the semi-final against Harlequins on 30 April. Munster lost the semi-final in Thomond Park 20-12.
Munster finished first in the 2010–11 Celtic League. They beat Ospreys 18-11 in their semi-final to set up a Grand Final with Leinster, which Munster won 19-9, securing a third Celtic League title.
Munster were drawn in Pool One for the 2011–12 Heineken Cup, alongside Northampton Saints, Scarlets and Castres Olympique. They beat Northampton 23-21 in the first pool game at Thomond Park, after an 83rd minute drop-goal from Ronan O'Gara.In their second pool game, Munster beat Castres 24-27, with O'Gara again scoring an overtime drop-goal to secure victory.
Celtic League Table watch · edit · discuss Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points For Points Against Points Difference Tries For Tries Against Try Bonus Losing Bonus Points 1 Ospreys 8 6 1 1 186 134 +52 13 9 0 0 26 2 Leinster 8 6 0 2 184 144 +40 12 14 1 1 26 3 Munster 8 5 0 3 160 125 +35 11 4 1 2 23 4 Glasgow Warriors 8 5 0 3 166 140 +26 9 10 1 1 22 5 Cardiff Blues 7 4 0 3 163 151 +12 17 12 3 1 20 6 Benetton Treviso 8 4 0 4 173 157 +16 14 15 1 2 19 7 Ulster 8 4 0 4 147 140 +7 16 9 0 1 17 8 Scarlets 8 3 1 4 141 135 +6 11 10 1 2 17 9 Connacht 8 3 0 5 119 156 -37 11 12 0 3 15 10 Edinburgh 8 3 0 5 168 197 -29 12 18 0 2 14 11 Newport Gwent Dragons 7 2 0 5 123 165 -42 9 15 0 2 10 12 Aironi 8 1 0 7 112 198 -86 10 17 1 1 6
If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:
- number of matches won;
- the difference between points for and points against;
- the number of tries scored;
- the most points scored;
- the difference between tries for and tries against;
- the fewest number of red cards received;
- the fewest number of yellow cards received.
Green background (rows 1 to 4) are play-off places. Qualification for Heineken Cup is based on each country's allocation, i.e. three highest-ranked Irish teams, three highest-ranked Welsh teams, two highest-ranked Italian teams and two highest-ranked Scottish teams.
Updated 6 November 2011. Source: RaboDirect PRO12
Against Touring Sides
Munster has a great tradition of competitiveness and impassioned displays against touring sides. The first touring side to play Munster were the famous "Original" All Blacks led by Dave Gallagher, who lined out against Munster in the Markets Field, Limerick in November 1905. Munster were defeated that day 33–0. Throughout the years Munster were to record a number of near-misses and last minute defeats to the Springboks, Wallabies and the All Blacks. The first tangible result against a touring side was to come in 1958 when the Wallabies were held to a 3–3 draw in Thomond Park.
First victory over a touring side
Munster was the first Irish Provincial side to defeat a major touring team when they defeated Australia 11–8 in Musgrave Park, Cork on 25 January 1967. Munster were captained that day by Tom Kiernan.
Against the All Blacks
Munster first played the All Blacks in 1905, losing 33–0 on the occasion. They have played each other many times since then. Munster drew with New Zealand 3–3 in 1973 and then in 1978 became the only Irish side to have beaten the All Blacks. The 12–0 victory occurred on Tuesday 31 October 1978 at Thomond Park, in front of a crowd of 12,000, though many times that number still claim to have been present, such was the occasion. Christy Cantillon scored a try with Tony Ward converting. Ward also added a dropped goal in each half. The game remains the only time an All Blacks team lost to any Irish side, and now forms part of Munster rugby mythology. A stage play named Alone it Stands (by John Breen), and a book named Stand Up and Fight: When Munster Beat the All Blacks by Alan English were both based on the events. Both have been commercially successful. Alone it Stands has had several sell-out runs in Ireland and abroad. "Stand Up and Fight" was a bestseller in 2005. The All Blacks returned to Thomond Park in November 2008 — to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the previous match, and to celebrate the opening of the new stadium. After 76 minutes of the match Munster were winning 16–13, but a late try by Joe Rokocoko meant the All Blacks won 18–16.
Like the All Blacks, Munster have played Australia many times. They first met in 1947, where Australia won 6–5. Munster claimed their first victory over the Wallabies in 1967, when they won 11–8. In 1992, Australia, reigning world champions, having won the 1991 Rugby World Cup, visited Munster as part of a European Tour. Munster won 22–19 in a rough encounter in Cork. Ten years later, London newspaper The Daily Telegraph recounted part of the legend in a feature on Munster prop Peter Clohessy: "The then Wallabies coach, Bob Dwyer, who was not a man who readily accepted that opposition sides could legitimately score more points than his team, immediately branded the Munster Number 3 a 'disgrace'. It had been a typically rugged, robust and memorable Munster triumph, with leather and fists flying on both sides. Clohessy who wouldn't generally be known for misconduct was no more guilty than the next man but world champions are not supposed to lose against a hastily assembled Irish provincial XV. There had to be a reason, an excuse, and Dwyer rounded on Clohessy". History repeated itself in 2010 when Munster defeated the Wallabies by 15–6 with their Australian fly-half, Paul Warwick, kicking all fifteen points (three penalties and 2 drop goals). The match was played in ferocious weather, with Munster playing into a gale force wind and driving rain in the first half. Indeed, the conditions made the half time score of 6–6 all the more significant, as Australia could neither cope with the weather nor the Munster pressure in the second half.
Results against touring international teams
Colours and logo
The 'three crowns' emblem used by Munster alludes to the three constituent historic kingdoms of Munster; Thomond in the north, Desmond in the south, and Ormonde in the east. A revamped logo was introduced for the 2003–04 season which included the addition of a stag with the three crowns. The crest was designed to maintain the three crowns, and the new red stag symbolizes strength and competitiveness. The decision for change was a product of two years of planning of research and design. Elements of navy were also introduced into mainly red Munster jersey. The current kit consists of a red shirt with navy blue trimming, white shorts and red socks. The kit is made by Adidas, who replaced Canterbury of New Zealand, in a deal covering kit supply for three seasons. The name of Munster's current title sponsors, Toyota appears on their shirt. The club motto appears on the inside-collar of the 2011/12 jersey. The counties of Munster are also listed at intervals on the jersey.
Munster have two main stadia where they play their home matches – Thomond Park in Limerick and Musgrave Park in Cork. Thomond Park is the bigger of the two, with a capacity of around 27,000, while Musgrave holds 8,300. As well as Munster, Shannon RFC and UL Bohemian RFC play at the grounds of Thomond Park. Thomond Park is famous for its atmosphere and unique history – its noise during play and complete silence when a player (home and away) is kicking at goal. It is also famous for Munster's intimidating record that it held for over a decade – having never been beaten at home during the Heineken Cup. However the record was broken during the 2006–07 season when they were defeated by the Leicester Tigers. Munster train in the University of Limerick. Munster are currently training at the excellent facilities at the Cork Institute of Technology, Cork.
Thomond Park went through a major renovation in 1999, and in 2006, Munster announced plans to upgrade it. In autumn 2008 the new 27,000 capacity stadium was opened. Two sweeping arches are one of the defining features of the stadium as well as the concourse outside of the new East Stand. The new stadium design was well received and won the Public Choice Award for 2009 from the Irish Architecture Foundation. A long discussion and consultation on the new name concluded with the decision that the name would remain Thomond Park.
The strength of Munster's support was demonstrated during Munster's 2006 and 2008 Heineken Cup final wins. News reports detailed the lengths some fans were willing to go to secure tickets to the game. Some Munster fans travelled to Biarritz to buy up the French allocation of tickets. On the day of the game the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff was filled with a capacity crowd of 74,500. Of those numbers it is estimated that in excess of 55–65,000 were Munster fans with the remainder being neutrals and Biarritz supporters. The Millennium Stadium was intended to be a neutral venue but commentators on the day remarked that it could hardly be counted as such. In North America there is an official supporters club called Munster Rugby USA.
Munster have played in the most-attended semi-final match of the Heineken Cup, the 2009 Semi-final v Leinster, Croke Park, Dublin – 82,208 (also the largest crowd ever to attend any club rugby match)
Munster's appearance in the 2002 final against Leicester Tigers at the Millennium Stadium, which drew 74,600, was the record attendance for a Heineken Cup Final until the 2007 final between Leicester and London Wasps at the newly expanded Twickenham, although it is estimated that as many as 10,000 Munster fans attended this game, having bought tickets before Munster were knocked out of the competition. Munster's 2005 quarter-final against Biarritz Olympique in Estadio Anoeta, played as it was across the border in San Sebastián, with an attendance of 32,000 also set the record for the biggest rugby match ever played in Spain. Their October 2006 Celtic League game against Leinster at Lansdowne Road beat the record for that competition with an attendance of 27,252. This record lasted just two months however with the Leinster and Ulster match on 31 December 2006 filling Lansdowne Road (over 48,000 in attendance) for the last match at the stadium before redevelopment.
Munster fans are known for their silence when a kick is being taken, but also for their noise. Fans repeatedly chant "MUNSTER" or sing "The Fields of Athenry" (an Irish famine song from Galway, Connacht) and "Stand Up and Fight" (from the Broadway musical Carmen Jones.) They famously sang The Black Velvet Band to the Ospreys' Irish winger Tommy Bowe during their 2009 Heineken Cup quarter final encounter. Tommy Bowe sang this song at the official reception for the 2009 Grand Slam winning Ireland rugby team.
Munster is also unusual in that it has given two words to the rugby lexicon. Famously the Garryowen club of Limerick introduced the "Garryowen kick", a high up and under which put defending players under pressure and term "Mullocker" to describe a unrefined forward has it's origins amongst the dockers who worked on a casual basis for the Limerick docking firm, Mullock & Sons.
Munster A is the team that represents Munster in the British & Irish Cup and in the All Ireland Inter-provincial Championship. Pre-professionalism and a formal Celtic league structure, the main Munster team competed in the AIPC. Since the advent of professionalism the provinces have fielded lesser teams in order to concentrate on the Celtic League. The team is composed of Senior Munster squad players requiring gametime, Academy players and AIL players called up from their club.
- Heineken Cup
- Celtic League/Magners League:
- Winners: 2002–03, 2008–09, 2010-11: 3
- Runners Up: 2001-02, 2004-05: 2
- Celtic Cup:
- Winners: 2004–05: 1
- Irish Inter-Provincial Championship:
- Winners: 22
- Setanta Challenge Cup:
- British and Irish Cup
- Runners Up 2009–10 1
Season Pos Played Won Drawn Lost Bonus Points 2001–02 1st (Pool B) 6 5 0 1 0 15 2002–03 1st (Pool A) 7 6 0 1 4 28 2003–04 7th 22 10 0 12 11 51 2004–05 2nd 20 15 1 4 7 69 2005–06 3rd 20 12 0 8 10 58 2006–07 6th 20 12 0 8 6 54 2007–08 3rd 18 10 1 7 6 48 2008–09 1st 18 14 0 4 8 63 2009–10 4th 18 9 0 9 9 45 Semi-final Leinster 16 – 6 Munster 2010–11 1st 22 19 0 3 7 83 Semi-final Munster 18 – 11 Ospreys Final Munster 19 – 9 Leinster
Season Pool/Round Pos Played Won Drawn Lost Bonus Points 1995–96 Pool 4 2 2 1 0 1 – 2 1996–97 Pool 4 4 4 2 0 2 – 4 1997–98 Pool 4 4 6 2 0 4 – 4 1998–99 Pool 2 2 6 4 1 1 – 9 Quarter-final Colomiers 23 – 9 Munster 1999–2000 Pool 4 1 6 5 0 1 – 10 Quarter-final Munster 27 – 10 Stade Français Semi-final Toulouse 25 – 31 Munster Final Northampton Saints 9 – 8 Munster 2000–01 Pool 4 1 6 5 0 1 – 10 Quarter-final Munster 38 – 29 Biarritz Olympique Semi-final Stade Français 16 – 15 Munster 2001–02 Pool 4 2 6 5 0 1 – 10 Quarter-final Stade Français 14 – 16 Munster Semi-final Castres 17 – 25 Munster Final Leicester Tigers 15 – 9 Munster 2002–03 Pool 2 2 6 4 0 2 – 8 Quarter-final Leicester Tigers 7 – 20 Munster Semi-final Toulouse 13 – 12 Munster 2003–04 Pool 5 1 6 5 0 1 4 24 Quarter-final Munster 37 – 32 Stade Français Semi-final Munster 32 – 37 London Wasps 2004–05 Pool 4 1 6 5 0 1 2 22 Quarter-final Biarritz Olympique 19 – 10 Munster 2005–06 Pool 1 1 6 5 0 1 3 23 Quarter-final Munster 19 – 10 Perpignan Semi-final Leinster 6 – 30 Munster Final Biarritz Olympique 19 – 23 Munster 2006–07 Pool 4 2 6 5 0 1 3 23 Quarter-final Llanelli Scarlets 24 – 15 Munster 2007–08 Pool 5 1 6 4 0 2 3 19 Quarter-final Gloucester 3 – 16 Munster Semi-final Saracens 16 – 18 Munster Final Toulouse 13 – 16 Munster 2008–09 Pool 1 1 6 5 0 1 3 23 Quarter-final Munster 43 – 9 Ospreys Semi-final Munster 6 – 25 Leinster 2009–10 Pool 1 1 6 5 0 1 4 24 Quarter-final Munster 33 – 19 Northampton Saints Semi-final Biarritz Olympique 18 – 7 Munster 2010–11 (HC) Pool 3 2 6 3 0 3 4 16 2010–11 (AC) Quarter-final CA Brive 37 – 42 Munster Semi-final Munster 12 – 20 Harlequins
Playing Squad 2011–12
Internationally capped players in bold.
Academy Squad 2011–12
Player Position Union Duncan Casey Hooker Ireland year 1 Niall Scannell Hooker Ireland year 1 Alan Cotter Prop Ireland year 2 James Cronin Prop Ireland year 1 David Kilcoyne Prop Ireland year 2 Brian Hayes Lock Ireland year 2 Cathal O’Flaherty Lock Ireland year 1 Shane Buckley Flanker Ireland year 1 Dave O'Callaghan Flanker Ireland year 3 Brian O'Hara Flanker Ireland year 3 Player Position Union Cathal Sheridan Scrum-half Ireland year 2 JJ Hanrahan Fly-half Ireland year 2 Gareth Quinn McDonogh Fly-half Ireland year 2 Cian Bohane Centre Ireland year 1 Corey Hircock Centre Ireland year 2 Luke O'Dea Fullback Ireland year 2 Ronan O'Mahony Fullback Ireland year 2
Players in (Season 2011/12)
- Ian Keatley from Connacht
- BJ Botha from Ulster
- Will Chambers from Queensland Reds (short-term contract)
- Conor Murray from Munster Academy
- Mike Sherry from Munster Academy
- Simon Zebo from Munster Academy
- Sean Henry from Munster Academy
- Troy Smith from Munster Academy
- John Ryan
Players out (Season 2011/12)
- Paul Warwick to Stade Francais
- Tony Buckley to Sale Sharks
- Sam Tuitupou to Sale Sharks 
- Dave Ryan to undeclared
- Alan Quinlan Retired
- Ian Dowling Retired through injury
- Barry Murphy Retired through injury
- Kieran Essex Completed Munster Academy, released.
- Paul Rowley Completed Munster Academy, released.
- Pa O'Regan Pursuing other non-rugby career options
British and Irish Lions
The '200' Club
Players who have reached the 200 caps mark for Munster.
- Anthony Foley: (1994-2008) 201 caps
- Alan Quinlan: (1996-2011) 212 caps
- Peter Stringer: (1998-present) 223 caps
- Ronan O'Gara: (1997-present) 208 caps
- John Hayes: (1998-present) 209 caps
- David Wallace: (1997-present) 200 caps
Notable Overseas Players
- John Langford: 1999–2001
- Jim Williams: 2001–2005
- Christian Cullen: 2003–2007
- Trevor Halstead: 2005–2007
- Federico Pucciariello: 2005–2009
- Lifeimi Mafi: 2006–present
- Paul Warwick: 2007-2011
- Rua Tipoki: 2007–2009
- Doug Howlett: 2008–present
- Jean de Villiers: 2009–2010
- Sam Tuitupou: 2010–2011
- BJ Botha: 2011-present
- Gordon McIlwham 2003-2005
- Category:Munster Rugby players
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- ^ http://www.rte.ie/sport/rugby/2011/0216/buckleyt_munster_sale.html
- ^ http://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/sport/sharks-sign-tuitupou-from-munster-500777.html#ixzz1JCXb08Yh
- ^ http://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/sport/munster-prop -ryan-set-to-leave-at-end-of-season-501288.html#ixzz1JVL5W1n
- ^ http://www.breakingnews.ie/sport/munster-legend-quinlan-to-call-it-a-day-499392.html
- ^ http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sport/2011/0406/1224294005087.html
- ^ http://www.munsterrugby.ie/news/8890.php
- ^ http://www.munsterrugby.ie/news/9073.php
- ^ The Ireland Rugby Miscellany (2007): Ciaran Cronin
- ^ Munster Lions
- English, A, (2005) Stand Up and Fight: When Munster Beats the All Blacks, Random House, London
- English, A, (2006) Munster: Our Road to Glory, Penguin Ireland, Dublin
- Murphy, E, (2006) Munster Rugby: The Secret of Their Success, Maverick House Publishers, Dublin
- Cronin, C, (2006) Beyond Our Wildest Dreams: Munster's Heineken Cup Odyssey, Tuatha Mumhan Books
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