You are browsing the archive for 2013 February.

AC putting to much emphasis on end of the season?

February 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

In the last 2 – 3 seasons the Stormers started of with a bang and usually sneaked their first few games and then just kept on winning.

AC placed a lot of importance on winning every game even if it is only by 1 point without the Stormers scoring a try. Players were picked with slight injuries and played week in and week out. AC believed that a half fit JdV is better than no JdVfor example.

While this worked for them in the short term it always came back to bite them come play-off time because normally by that time the Stormers will have plenty of injuries and very fatigued players.

This season has seen a turn around from the Stormers brains trust. They decided on a very short and noncompetitive preseason and have also rested any player who resembles a slight injury.

I believe if this was last season players like DeJongh, Liebenberg and even Burger would have played or been on the bench. To his mind this is only Feb and not a semi or final thus it is not worth risking players.

Now this is very admirable and might be a smart move. It is the same sort of tactic the Sharks used last season. (or were forced to use) But just how good it will work remains to be seen.

Thing is if you say you will take a win in the first few weeks but you are not putting everything you have on the line it is fine. But what will happen if the Stormers lose to the Sharks and then to the Chiefs?? A very realistic scenario. Will AC then change his song??

Thing is if you go down 3 – 0 or even 5 – 0 at the start of the season this will leave you having to win every week there after. Sure if you manage it you are on a roll come play-offs but do you really want that pressure?

Anyhow AC has made his decision and will have to stand by it. I just hope he has a strong hart and thick skin because things can get pretty ugly for him in the Cape media after a couple of losses. Esp with the squad he have at his disposal.

Cheers.

Stormers side I would pick against the Sharks

February 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Sharks are in great form and it will take a miracle for the Stormers to win in Durban.
This is the team I would go with.

15. Joe – He is in good form since the start of the season (pre) and has a accurate boot. With Taut out with a haematoma on his testicles (OUCH!!!) it is a no brainer.

14. Aplon – Not in the best of form but also not doing anything bad. He needs to step up his work rate.

13. JdJ – Not sure if he is fit but if he is I would start him. We need his game braking abilities.

12. JdV – After a slap fest with Hougaard (and some bad acting by Hougaard) he needs to focus and get his team going in the right direction.

11. Habana – Did not have much to do in Ptown but will need to be at his best if the Stormers are to stand a chance.

10. Jantjies – I will be very tempted to go with Grant and blood Jantjies from the bench but with Joe taking the kicking duties this might be a chance for him to regain confidence. We always have Grant on the bench to save us in the last seconds?

9. Groom – I will stick with him. He was not as useless as the rest.

8. Vermeulen – One of the players who actually had an OK game against the Bulls stole a few balls and carried OK esp considering the pressure the forwards was under.

7. Kolisi – Had an quiet game but will be expecting some brutal hits from him come Saturday.

6. Deon – With Burger still out I would play him on the flank as a specialist opensider. This is what he does best.

5. Bekker – Started playing better but still have to up the grunt. I do believe the Stormers line-out woes are Deon’s fault.

4. Elstadt – I believe he will bring more power to the Stormers pack come scrum time. More than Steenkamp at least.

3. Cilliers – had a bad game against the Bulls and will have to up the ante against a monster Sharks scrum. He was let down by his locks and hooker.

2. Bezuidenhoudt – I would not say he is the best hooker come scrumtime but he should be better than Deon.

1. Kitshoff – I am a bit worried for the young man against Dr Jannie. But he will have to do the job.

16 Malherbe

17 Brok

18 Steenkamp

19 Carr

20 Duvenage

21. Grant

22 D’Allande covers more positions than Shadow. But it could be Shadow.

I think AC will stick with Fourie at 2 which will be a huge mistake most of the Stormers difficulties against the Bulls can be atributed to Deon not being able to compete in the 1st phase. Scrums and line outs was the huge problem and both are mostly his fault.

I think the Sharks will win the game in the scrums they absolutely monstered the Cheetahs and I can’t see the Stormers being so much better.

But as they say there is always hope even if it is a fools hope.

Cheers

 

Chiliboy Try? ….. No Try!

February 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

Well this is not a post about how Jaco Peyper cost the Stormers the game against the Bulls. As I have said before they way the Stormers played they deserved to lose and they did.

The incident in question was when Hougaard placed a grubber though the Stormers defense and Chiliboy who was in front of Hougaard when he kicked picked up the ball as scored a “try”.  As it happened I said to a friend of mine that should be a Stormers penalty.

Mr. Peyper then asked the TMO whether he can determine if a Stormers player touched the ball and thus “placed Chiliboy onside”.  The TMO then decided that he thought the ball did indeed touch Malherbe’s boot. Which I disagree with because the only way you can determine that is if you have hotspot or if you can see the players anatomy move. Like in the case of the Zane Kirchner charge down of JdV’s kick. But that does not really make a difference in this case.

When Hougaard kicked the ball in order for Chili to become onside again either a Stormers player must have charged the ball down which did not happen. Malherbe according to the TMO touched the ball but only after it had rolled a few times and the only accidentally thus no charge down. The other way Chili could have been placed onside is if he retreated immediately after the ball was kicked, as he was within 10m of where the ball grounded and Hougaard or someone else placed him onside. As it was Chiliboy stood still and did not retreat thus penalty to Stormers immediately.

Now I can understand that a ref will make mistakes we all do. If he misses a forward pass, a offside, a knock-on or struggles with the laws around the brake down which is still a sham. BUT when a ref just does not know the laws of the game it is inexcusable.  It is the same if a hart surgeon did not know the left from the right ventricle.

One would think that refs should write an exam of sorts testing them on their knowledge of the laws of the game and that this is being repeated once or twice a year? I mean this is his job not just some hobby he does in his past time.

What worries me is if I can make the right call with in seconds of it happening how can a ref and TMO get it so wrong when they took 3-5 mins to make the call.

Like I said I am not sure this influenced the result of the game but what if this was a final??

Cheers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ps: It just came to my attention that Peyper also  refereed the final between the Sharks and WP and in that game he also made a lot of mistakes which incidentally also went against the WP. Something more to this???? Or is Mr. Peyper just a shit ref??

Not getting any easier for Stormers

February 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

So the Stormers played their worst game of rugby in at least 2 years. Their scrums was shaky their line outs a total sham and their handling school boyish at best. It was only the first game but the Chiefs also played their first game and looked like a well oiled machine. Astonishingly they came close in the end but the Bulls deserved to win even though their only try was fortunate. (legitimate?)

Elton Jantjies had his worst game in his short professional career. Missing an astonishing 4 out of 4 kicks with none of them being impossibly difficult. (which indecently could have won them the game which they definitively did not deserve)His kicking out of hand and distribution was average and one could see he has not played any rugby in a long time. It was always going to be a risk playing him without any practice matches and so short after his personal tragedy. I really feel for him as their must be loads of demons running through his mind.

Deon Fourie showed me one thing and that is that he is no hooker he is a decent to good openside flanker. But his scrumming and line out work was one of the reasons the Stormers lost.

The Stormers face the Sharks, Chiefs, Brumbies, Crusaders over the next 5 weeks. No disrespect for the Bulls but of all those teams they are by far the weakest team.

But good on the Bulls, Morne kick brilliant and they deserved to win by  20 – 30 points the way the Stormers played. Although they might be advised to bring in more of their young talent as to boast their attacking skills.

If I were AC which I’m not. I would switch Fourie to 6 and start Liebenberg or Bezuidenhoudt at hooker. Switch Elstadt to 4 and drop Steenkamp to bench. In the back I only bring in Joe for injured Taute and De Jongh if ready for D’Allande. Also bring Grant in on the bench.

I can’ t see them winning the Sharks in Durban so they will have to win the Chiefs at Newlands.

In other news I was so happy that Maties triumphed over Tukkies. Not because Maties are from the WC and Tukkies from Ptown. But because most of the Tukkies team are professional rugby players (contracted by the Bulls) who are studying on the side AND most of the Maties (if not all) are professional students playing a bit of rugby on the side. I just feel this is the real embodiment of the competition. But that is just a personal gripe of mine.

Cheers

Stormers vs Bulls the numbers.

February 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

15. Zane vs Jaco: Zane have always had good S15 form but has struggled come Bok time. (esp in SH) Taute is probably the most exciting prospect for FB the Boks have had in a while. Verdict: Because of X-factor Stormers 1 Bulls 0

14 Aplon vs Basson: Very evenly balanced although two different players. Aplon has speed and quick feet. Basson is the best player under an attacking up and under SA have. On defense I think Aplon is some way ahead of Basson. Verdict: Shared because of Bassons aerial skills. Stormers 1/2 Bulls 1/2

13. Jean vs JJ: A young gun vs an old hand. HM seems to love JJ, personally I am yet to be convinced about the boy. He is big and strong but his defense and distribution is yet to be proved. Verdict: Jean takes it comfortably at this stage. Stormers 1 Bulls 0

12. Damian vs Meisiekind: Now I am not a supporter of Olivier and think the Bulls made a mistake by not selecting Venter. But Wynand can proof me wrong. Verdict: Bulls takes it D’Allande still has to proof his worth. Stormers 0 Bulls 1.

11. Habana vs Mapoe: Mapoe is a class act, but he has been rocking it at 13 most of last season. Thing is Habana is in a class of his own. Verdict: Stormers 1 Bulls 0

10. Jantjies vs Steyn: It will all depends which Steyn rocks up at Loftus Friday. Jantjies has been thrown into the deep end and might find it hard to adjust so quickly. I think Jantjies the better player but… Verdict: I’ll give it to Steyn for this game. Stormers 0 Bulls 1

9. Groom vs Hougaard: Hougie had an awful 2012 season but I have a suspicion the real Hougie will return in 2013. Groom is OK but not in the same class. Verdict Stormers 0 Bulls 1.

8. Vermeulen vs Spies: Spies is comming back from injury. I have not been impressed by him the last couple of seasons. Vermeulen proved with the boks on EOYT he is a force to be reckoned with. Verdict: Stormers 1 Bulls 0

7. Elstadt vs Potgieter(Dewald): Elstedt’s form this preseason has been magnificent. Potgieter started his career with a bang but has slowly dropped in form. Last seasons disastrous Bulls CC campaign did not help his confidence. Verdict: By a whisker Stormers takes it. Stormers 1 Bulls 0

6. Kolisi vs Steggman: Two totally different players. I love Kolisi’s play esp. on defense. Steggman has fallen away since the new laws. He has become a penalty machine. Verdict: Stormers 1 Bulls 0

5. Bekker vs Kruger: Interesting indeed. Andries has the length but have not completed a game in months. If both play to full potential Bekker should walk the contest but that is only IF. Verdict: Stormers 1/2 Bulls 1/2

4. Steenkamp vs Flip: If Eben was available it would be no contest no matter who the Stormers played, BUT it is not. Steenkamp is average and Flip can be good. Verdict: Stormers 0 Bulls 1

3. Pat vs Mallett: Have not seen to much of Morne. Pat have not yet taken a step backwards since getting his Bok call up. Verdict: Stormers 1 Bulls 0.

2. Fourie vs Chilli: Deon was WP player of the CC last season and with good reason. I think he will again be a real live wire and poach some good ball. Having said that his throw ins come lineout time has been disappointing. Verdict: Stormers 0 Bulls 1

1. Kitshoff vs Kruger: Kitshoff at only 21 he is in his 3rd season of SR!!! Kruger has not impressed me much. He was folded in half last season when he played against the poms. Verdict: Stormers 1 Bulls 0

16. Martin vs Wepener: Verdict: Stormers 1/2 Bulls 0

17. Malherbe vs Kirsten: Stormers 1/2 Bulls 0

18. Armand vs Hatting: even Stormers 0 Bulls 0

19. Carr vs Botha: Stormers 0 Bulls 1/2

20. Duvenage vs Vermaak: Stormers 0 Bulls 1/2

21. Gerhard vs Venter: Stormers 0 Bulls 1/2

22. Joe vs Fouche Stormers 1/2 Bulls 0

 

This adds up to:  Stormers 10.5 Bulls 6.5

I’ll give the Bulls a point for home game and a point for it being at altitude. Thus Stormers 10.5 Bulls 8.5

So in the end on paper the Stormers should still win the game but the game is played on grass and anything can happen. Can’t wait for the game to start!!!

 

PS: Where have all the Bulls fans gone on this blog? ? I know their form in 2011 and 2012 were not great but guys things are looking on the up for you with plenty of extremely good young talent.

Cheers

 

Stormers team to face Bulls

February 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

15. Jaco Taute, 14. Gio Aplon, 13. Jean de Villiers (captain), 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Bryan Habana, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Nic Groom, 8. Duane Vermeulen, 7. Rynhardt Elstadt, 6. Siya Kolisi, 5. Andries Bekker, 4. De Kock Steenkamp, 3. Pat Cilliers, 2. Deon Fourie, 1. Steven Kitshoff

Substitutes: 16. Martin Bezuidenhout, 17. Frans Malherbe, 18. Don Armand, 19. Nizaam Carr, 20. Dewaldt Duvenage, 21. Gerhard van den Heever, 22. Joe Pietersen

So Schalk Burger failed to recover well enough from a calf strain to make the Bulls game. He did take contact end of last week but it looks like AC has decided not to gamble on Burger. It is probably a wise decision as this is a long long season. It is a pity though as Burgers physicality will be missed especially since Eben is also injured. At least Kolisi is still there to bring the grunt on defence.

The rest of the team holds no surprises as Juan was always a very doubtful starter.

In a bit of a pleasant surprise AC decided to go with Groom at 9. I think it is the smart move especially with Jantjies at 10 who needs a fast scrummie to let him unleash his full attacking skills.

All in all not a bad team a good blend of youth and experience. The only downfall to this team is that the first time they will play together will be against the Bulls at Loftus not an ideal scenario. Esp with a lot of new players in the squad.

Cheers

Vodacom Cup Griquas silence Kings!!

February 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

Last night in the Kings last warm up match the VodacomCup squad of the Griquas came from behind to sneak past the Kings.

I know this is only a warm up game but you have to understand that unlike most other small unions the Griquas do lose a fair amount of their top players to the Cheetahs. So this was by no means a CC quality Griquas side.

The Kings selected potentially their best side available to play Super Rugby this season. With all of Watson, Sykes, Struass, Catrikillis and Maku playing. It was the first time the team has ever played together. Unlike Stormers,Bulls, Sharks and Cheetahs who all still have the same core of players that played in 2012. But still this was only the second string Griquas team and was played in PE. Which also begs the why the Kings did not play their strongest side more than once to give the players the time to get to know each other? This was their 4th warm up game.

Luckily for the Kings they do start of against the “other worst team” the Force at home. Now the Force themselves have lost quite a few players last season without gaining much but you have to think they will still be better than the Griquas VodacomCup team?

Everyone knows Mr Solomans is a shrewd rugby brain but even he will start having his doubt about whether this current Kings squad belongs at Super Rugby level and whether it would not have been wiser to first give this same squad a season of CC prem div rugby before the promised introduction into Super Rugby next season?

Super Rugby is an unforgiving tournament (just ask the Lions) if you have a slow start and lose 2 or 3 in a row it will take a special team to turn your season arround. (like the Saders of the 90′ s and early 00’s)

I have said it before the Kings are on a hiding to nothing. They do not have the squad depth or quality for Super Rugby yet.

Now I am not saying the Kings should never play Super Rugby. I believe the EC deserve a Super Rugby berth but they should never have been rushed into Super Rugby like this. I know most of this is SARU’s fault but nothing stopped Mr Watson Snr to say to SARU: No thanks we would rather play CC prem div in 2013 and then play SR in 2014. I am sure SARU would not have minded that cause that would have given them more time to work out the mess.

Mr Solomans will have to pull a few rabbits out of his hat to prevent the Kings of going down in history as the worst SR side that has ever played in the tournament. Which would be pretty sad.

Cheers.

Should Super Rugby contracted players play Varsity Cup?

February 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

So I watched the Varsity Cup on Monday night and could not help to notice how many contracted players are playing Varsity cup. Esp in the Bulls and Ikeys teams.

That got me thinking should players already contracted by the unions (like BBC or WPRU) be allowed to play Varsity Cup? These players are professional rugby players and not students. Some of them have been professionals from grade 10 already.

Varsity Cup have made a ruling that at least 18 out of the 23 players in the match day squads be full-time students that have passed at least 30% of the subjects they studied the previous year. And even the non-student players need to have passed Grade 12.

Now this is all idle but the BBC/WPRU can easily enroll a player in some make shift degree to get their players to play Varsity Cup. And to only have to pass 30% of your subjects is a disgrace to any university. One only have to achieve 50% in a subject to pass the subject which will mean that a player will only have to achieve 50% in 3 of his subjects. The universities should at least be asking a student to pass 70 – 80% of all his subjects. If this is to demanding then university is maybe not for you. At university studies should be 1st and sports an extra curricular activity.

The whole concept of the Varsity Cup was to catch talent that was missed at schoolboy level. Thus giving late developers a chance to shine and be seen by recruiters of the unions. Thus creating more depth in our country catching these players who would have been lost to SA Rugby. BUT at the moment all the Varsity cup is doing is giving more game time to the players already contracted by the unions. Thus the late developers again will be falling through the cracks. 

Varsity Cup should be an amateur competition with amateur students getting time to shine. It was not intended for the already rich players with huge contracts at the unions to get some more game time.

I am not talking about players that play varsity cup and then gets called up to the unions in times of crises to help out on s short term contract game by game. But rather about the players who already have a 2 – 3 year contract with the unions.

At the moment the line between university and union are totally blurred and it looks like the unions are only using the universities to develop their contracted players. Rather than the universities developing new players.

Look if they want to go the way they are going then they should scrap all the academic B.S. and say the Varsity cup is a club comp that is funded by the unions for the enjoyment of the students. But do not try to then market it as a Varsity vs Varsity comp like in the old days.

Cheers.

Probable Stormers team to face the Bulls.

February 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

SO I know it is a bit early but I am a bit bored (slow day at the office) and rugby news is a bit slow. So here goes.

15. Jaco Taute: Has started both warm ups and although not quite in top form the smart money is on him to wear the 15 jersey. JoeP in his time on the field did look in great form but maybe a cameo of the bench would be best at this stage.

14. Gio Aplon: Not yet in his most devastating form but do not give this guy an inch.

13. Jean de Villiers: With De Jongh set to be out for a week the smart money is on JdV to take on the no 13 role for the first game and then switch back to 12 when Juan becomes available.

12. Damian D’Allande: The youngsters move to the no 12 channel has been good. He is big and strong. Have not yet seen enough of him at 12 to say how good he really is. This will be a great test against the Bulls as the Bulls have some good IC of their own.

11. Bryan Habana: World Class picks himself.

10. Elton Jantjies: Although he has not had a run in the warm ups. (due to personal reasons) He will have to start of with a bang. Coleman is OK at best and with Grant not yet back the only other option is Schreuder. I must say I was impressed with Schreuder at 10 (more than at 9) but most of his outings have been as sub. And I will keep it that way.

9. Nick Groom: Stormers do not have a above average 9. Duvenage has the best boot and Groom’s service is the fastest. I like the fact that Groom can take a sniping break thus keeping the defense honest. AC will prob go with Duvenage as he will want his boot for the first game of the season.

8. Duane Vermeulen: He is the current bok 8 and has been in good form. He can play to the ball a bit and carries strong.

7. Siya Kolisi: I feel one of the most under rated flanks in SA. The strength of the man in a tackle is immense he always take the guy 2-3 meter back. Stormers defense is on another level when he gets his rhythm going.

6. Schalk Burger: He is suppose to be ready for the game. And with Eben out the Stormers will need his physicality. Not sure how he will go after a year on the sidelines. But Burger has never taken to long to get back to full steam.

5. Andries Bekker: The tall man will have to take his game up a notch in 2013. (to where it was SR’11) Injuries has ruined his last season and a half. Hopefully he can remain injury free for this season. And hopefully AC gives him enough breaks during the season as to not burn him out come end of season.

4. Reinhard Elstadt: With Eben out of SR for at least 6-8 weeks. Elstadt will have to stand up. He did well here in 2011 and if he can drop his tendency for a brain fart (aka dirty tactics) he could become a great player. Rhodes is also an option but I will play him of the bench.

3. Pat Cilliers: He was bought to anchor the reversing Stormers scrum and that is what he will need to do. I have been impressed with him in the Bok team every time he has played. We will just have to see how it goes in the Stormers engine room.

2. Deon Fourie: With this specific team he is a must for me. He does the fetching role from no.2 (ala Bismark) and is a real live wire in broken play. His weakness of late is his throw ins come line out time. But he will just have to work at that. I mean Bekker is so tall if you can throw high enough it should not be a problem.

1. Steven Kitshoff: He has only just turned 21 and is already in his 3rd season of SR. He is not the finished article yet but he is just getting better and better.

16. Matin Bezuidenhoudt: With Tiaan touch and go to be ready for the game I would not risk him Bezuidenhoudt has been good when ever he got an opportunity and should be a solid replacement. Maybe Fourie could move to 6 and give Burger a brake in his 1st game back?

17. Frans Malherbe: With Cilliers able to play 1 and 3 it makes sense to pick a tighthead as cover. Malherbe has slowly been growing and surpassing other players in South Africa. At only 21 he is also still learning the trade.

18. De Cock Steenkamp: He is a specialist 5 jumper and with Bekker injury prone always a good option on the bench. He rarely does something spectacular but he is a solid player that does his job.

19. Micheal Rhodes: With Deon and Kolisi being able to cover 6. I would o for Rhodes as a 4/7 replacement. Don Armand has also been there and there about but I like what I have seen of Rhodes at the Lions. Also a bit of a tendency to play a bit dirty but he brings more to the table than Armand for me.

20. Dewald Duvenage: I think AC will go other way round. Which might be the right choice. Groom on the bench does offer more than Duvenage. But I would like to strat the game fast against the Bulls.

21. Louis Schreuder: I would make him my FH back up if Grant is still in the land of the rising sun. He looked better than Coleman and with JoeP to take the kick later on it makes more sense. Taute of coarse can also kick at post.

22. Joe Pietersen: Looks to be back to his best form. Just love this guys running lines. Has real x-factor and can swing a game in the last 20 if needed.

23. Pitty SANZAR have not adopted this law. As this is a move in the right direction and will be law by 2015 thus why not start getting used to it? Maybe Aus does not have enough props??? Not sure but a sad move by SANZAR.

Barr injury I think AC’s team would be pretty close. As I said the only change I believe will be at 9. Where he will go with Dewald.

As for the Bulls they might look like this:

15. Zane, 14. JJ Engelbrecht, 13. Mapoe, 12. F Venter, 11. B Basson, 10. M Steyn, 9. F Hougaard, 8. P Spies, 7. Arno Botha, 6. Dewald Potgieter(of Steggman), 5 Kruger, 4. Flip, 3. Werner,  2. Chilli, 1. Dean

16.  VIsagie, 17. Mallet, 18. Willemse, 19. Jacque, 20. Vermaak,  21. Pollard, 22. Wynand Olivier.

 

Will be a cracker of a match and not easy to pick a winner.

 

Cheers

SuperRugby depth importance already shown.

February 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

So the Stormers and Sharks (SA’s two favorites) have been dealt cruel blows on the injury front.

The Sharks lost Daniels and Whitehead AND the Stormers lost Etzebeth all out with various injuries. Luckily for the moment being, none is said to be season enders at this stage.

The Sharks and Stormers do boast the biggest squad depth of all the SA franchises and should both be able to cover the injuries.

For the Sharks it was always going to be a tough decision who to play in the lose trio. The combination of Coetzee, Alberts and Kanko might in anyway be a stronger one than one with Daniels in it. And with Steyn back Whitehead was going to compete with Jordaan for the 13 jumper. So all in all I do not believe this injuries will weaken their run on team. This does however weaken the squad should there be any other injuries.

For the Stormers it will not be as easy to replace Eben. At his young age he is already considered one of the best if not the best no.4 in the world. That said all though it would be impossible to replace a player like Eben they do have good options available in Elstadt and Rhodes.

In a weird way this might help these players over the long season as they all will be 6 – 8 weeks fresher come the latter stages of the comp than the rest of the guys.

One team that has impressed me in the early season is the Bulls. They have silently build up quite a nice level of depth and although a lot of the depth are  still very young they are all the real deal and might surprise a team or two this season. (that is the youngster not the Bulls as the Bulls will always have a chance of winning)

Cheers .

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