robdylan

Sharks need to win the big battles


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Bulls, Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 19 May 2011 at 07:30
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One of the key factors in the Sharks triumph the last time they faced the Bulls (back in the Currie Cup semi-final last year) was the way that certain key men in the visiting side were overshadowed by their Sharks counterparts – often players of far less distinguished pedigree. The home team will need to repeat that feat on Saturday.

When weighing up the relative strengths and weaknesses of the respective teams, there are definite areas where the Bulls, from an experience point of view, stand out. Last yea’s Currie Cup clash was won because the Sharks dominated the Bulls in the second row and amongst the halfbacks, two areas where, on paper, the Bulls should have a clear advantage. On that day, Alistair Hargreaves and Steven Sykes produced a simply world-class performance that put the illustrious Bulls old firm of Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield to shame. Similarly, Bok halfbacks in Francois Hougaard and Morne Steyn were completely outplayed by the combination of crisp service from Charl McLeod and superb tactical kicking from Pat Lambie.

Fast forward to Saturday and we find the lineups looking much the same. Certainly, the same four locks will do battle and while Matfield and Botha have been off their best all season, you still have to back them against a Sharks second row that is struggling at lineout time and generally not quite up at the levels they reached last year in all other areas of play. Steven Sykes in particular is battling to find the sort of form that brought him within a whisker of a Bok cap in 2009 and the challenge for him, coming up against his nemesis in Botha, will be frankly massive. Hargreaves too has a point to prove and will have huge amounts of personal pride to gain should he be able marshal the Sharks’ lineout to some sort of parity against the Matfield benchmark. The Sharks should expect to have the upper hand amongst both the front and back rows, but overall forward supremacy, one feels, can only be assured if the locks manage to get the upper hand as well.

Capitalising on whatever possession does come their way, though, will as always be the responsibility of the halfbacks and for McLeod, the task suddenly got a lot harder. Fourie du Preez is the yardstick against which other scrumhalves like to measure themselves and the Sharks man, who has also seen an alarming drop in form over the last few rounds of action, needs to rediscover his mojo and fast if he’s to provide the match winner outside of him any chance of dictating matters. Lambie, we all know, is definitely up to running things in a game as big as this one, but without the stability of an in-form scrumhalf on the one side and a defensively-sound inside centre on the other, he may just find that he has to worry about a lot of things over and above his own game. That’s a huge amount of pressure to place on one guy – particularly a 20-year-old trying to maintain his edge in the traditionally tough “second season”. Lambie is good – in fact, great as we know – but he’s also only human and he needs his teammates to use their experience to reduce the pressure on him, rather than increase it.

We still need to see, of course, which centre combination John Plumtree opts to deploy, but should the Sharks manage to dominate possession, they should have the measure of the Bulls out wide. In order for those men to come into play, though, the Durbanites will need to ensure that enough quality ball comes their way in the right parts of the field, making it all the more crucial for the forwards and halfbacks to come to the party.

The often infuriating breakdown interpretations of referee Bryce Lawrence will, of course, add further spice to the clash and should the Bulls’ Deon Stegmann and Derick Kuun, regular ruck-time offenders this season, invoke the ire of the pint-sized Kiwi, Lambie may well find himself dictating the course of the game in a different way, by kicking the points on offer. That said, though, the Sharks have their own pair of serial offenders in the brothers du Plessis and Morne Steyn is another who won’t need a second invitation to keep the scoreboard ticking over should the opportunities come his way.

All-in-all, a mouth-watering game of Super Rugby awaits.


65 Comments

  • Spot on Rob!
    Who would you like to see @ 12 and 13?

  • Comment 1, posted at 19.05.11 07:42:45 by SharksRTB Reply
    SharksRTB
     
  • This is going to be a great game.
    Hopefully the Shark supporters get out in capacity for this game…. It will definitely help. While I’ll be watching the game from my living room……..alone……in the dark…….

  • Comment 2, posted at 19.05.11 07:44:35 by SharksRTB Reply
    SharksRTB
     
  • Can’t wait!

  • Comment 3, posted at 19.05.11 07:53:41 by Ben Reply
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  • I want adi at 13… Not sure yet who I want at 12. I don’t think we want to get sucked into a conservative, defense-minded game plan just because Olivier is looking dangerous. Otherwise the temptation would be to stick Swannie at 12. To me, it’s crucial to have a guy at 12 who doesn’t need any looking after on defence, though. Given that Smit isn’t going to start, we’ll have to have Stef at 13 and I’d rather have adi at 12 than not in the side at all

  • Comment 4, posted at 19.05.11 07:55:23 by robdylan Reply
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  • I am a bit nervous about this game. All of a sudden the Bulls are showing some form and could be dangerous. Lets just hope that our loosies can dominate the Bulls and force the penalties and or turnovers.

  • Comment 5, posted at 19.05.11 08:01:33 by Viking Reply
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    Viking
     
  • I think people are starting to realise just how big a loss Andries Strauss was for us.

  • Comment 6, posted at 19.05.11 08:02:26 by rhineshark Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 4) : Odds are that Plum will stick with the 12/13 combo that got him this far and stick Adi on the bench as an impact player. Not sure what I would do though. Maybe play Adi at 12 rather than on the bench?

  • Comment 7, posted at 19.05.11 08:03:16 by Viking Reply
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    Viking
     
  • In order for it to make sense having Adi on the bench, you need to have other players in the starting lineup who offer you different, but equivalent value. It’s just stupid to limit your best centre to 15 minutes a week if the guys starting ahead of him aren’t performing.

  • Comment 8, posted at 19.05.11 08:11:23 by robdylan Reply
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  • We’ve had sone line out issues during the course of the season and Matfield and co will target that area. Hopefully we have put in some extra time during the last 2 weeks and can at least secure 100% of our own ball.

  • Comment 9, posted at 19.05.11 08:13:03 by catfish Reply
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    catfish
     
  • @catfish (Comment 9) : i’ll be happy with 80% 😐 …Which is much better than 40/50% in prev weeks! πŸ™„ lineout ball that is. And the turnovers conceded at breakdowns need to better as well. A lot!

  • Comment 10, posted at 19.05.11 08:17:49 by SharksRTB Reply

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  • @SharksRTB (Comment 10) : They have been averaging 75%. They have only been below 50% once and that was against the Stormers where they were only 36% successful. What has made the lineout look worse than the figures is the Sharks messed up at critical moments. Maybe they are trying too hard under pressure, when they should rather stick to basics.

  • Comment 11, posted at 19.05.11 08:29:33 by waje Reply

     
  • @waje (Comment 11) : ja, spot on. It’s hard to mess up a throw to 2 in the lineout. Not the best attacking ball, but safe ball is better than lost ball πŸ™‚

  • Comment 12, posted at 19.05.11 08:34:14 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 12) : The Sharks have tried to get too clever at lineout this season. Yet when they have kept it simple they have been effective. Throw to the front and create a maul.

  • Comment 13, posted at 19.05.11 08:39:08 by waje Reply

     
  • @waje (Comment 11) : Getting the basics right and keeping the ball is what will win this game. Lets hope we can keep the Bulls pinned in their own half so that when the do get the ball the can kick it away.

  • Comment 14, posted at 19.05.11 08:45:59 by Viking Reply
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    Viking
     
  • @Viking (Comment 14) : That is what will win 99% of games. It is amazing some teams, like the Sharks enjoy kicking away hard earned ball. There are moments where kicking the ball out is crucial, but pointless kicking is poor decision making, and shows the team has no confidence in themselves. Stefan Terblanche, Odwa Ndugane, Louis Ludik and Pat Lambie have all been guilty of this at some point this season.

  • Comment 15, posted at 19.05.11 08:50:50 by waje Reply

     
  • @waje (Comment 15) : Like when we played against the Stormers and made those stupid chips on first phase ball. Chip kicks only work if you have turned the defense around and you have an open field behind the last defender. Other than that you are less likely to get the ball back than with a proper up and-under-kick.

  • Comment 16, posted at 19.05.11 08:54:47 by Viking Reply
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    Viking
     
  • @Viking (Comment 16) : I have found that is a Stefan Terblanche speciality. Although he has done it less this season, he has a knack of kicking ball away if he is given space. He doesn’t like passing outside him, could be remnants of his days as wing, where he had no-one outside him.

  • Comment 17, posted at 19.05.11 09:01:21 by waje Reply

     
  • @waje (Comment 17) : As long as our kicks has tactical intent and is chased hard so that you can compete for the ball its fine. Hoping for the best is not good enough nor is kicking the ball because of panick. Maak vas en maak skoon, in other words recycle the ball and start again.

  • Comment 18, posted at 19.05.11 09:04:46 by Viking Reply
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    Viking
     
  • @Viking (Comment 18) : I agree. If you are going to kick, it must be out or chased. No point standing back and waiting for it to be returned at pace.

  • Comment 19, posted at 19.05.11 09:10:44 by waje Reply

     
  • I saw KSA Shark was moaning about Stefan Terblanche always being memtioned. So I’ll throw in some of his stats. He has touched the ball 147 times, passed 70 times (more than I thought), kicked 31 times (little high for a 2nd center) and has made 23 total errors. You can read anything into these figures so I won’t try. Although it is nice to see he does pass the ball, my concern is 1 out of 7 times he touches the ball he turns it over.

  • Comment 20, posted at 19.05.11 09:16:28 by waje Reply

     
  • @waje (Comment 20) : Thank you for putting that stats up. That’s not the stat one would expect to see from a Super rugby 13.

  • Comment 21, posted at 19.05.11 09:50:24 by Ben Reply
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  • Waje can’t you get some tackling stats for Stef and Meyer. Would be nice to compare the 2.

  • Comment 22, posted at 19.05.11 09:53:01 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 21) : He hasn’t set the world alight in that position. In 2009 many people suggested he should be Bok fullback, I haven’t heard anyone say he should be a Bok since his move to 13. What is worrying is that the Sharks have known about the average centers they have for 2-3 years now and still haven’t produced or bought anyone of note. But they let a good guy go. So yet again this department lets the team down. And now we must hope Marius Joubert is the cheese.

  • Comment 23, posted at 19.05.11 10:01:44 by waje Reply

     
  • @Ben (Comment 22) : Had a quick look at the stats. Both are missing about 20% of all tackles attempted. Not good for 12/13…Will see if I can compare it to some of the other 12/13 combo’s.

  • Comment 24, posted at 19.05.11 10:03:46 by Viking Reply
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    Viking
     
  • @Viking (Comment 24) : Jac Pretorius missing 17%, Stephan Dippenaar missing 13% and Timotei missing 10%… πŸ˜•

  • Comment 25, posted at 19.05.11 10:07:02 by Viking Reply
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    Viking
     
  • @waje (Comment 20) : Stats are missleading. For me steff doesnt pose any attacking threat unlike adi who may be the best attacking player beside jlp and lambie -in terms of creativity- in the sharks.

  • Comment 26, posted at 19.05.11 10:08:15 by Talent Reply
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    Talent
     
  • Since this seems to have turned into a thread about centres, can anyone out there with handle on the juniors (I’m looking at you guys, Rob, JJR and Beet!) tell me what has happened to Piet Lindeque? At one point it seemed as if he was being hailed as the next Danie Gerber, the he started to battle to make the Vodacom squad, being moved to wing, and eventually falling out all together, and now he seems to have disappeared off the blogging landscape…?

  • Comment 27, posted at 19.05.11 10:08:24 by Culling Song Reply
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  • @Talent (Comment 26) : I know but I just want to compare Stef and Bosman’s Defence.

  • Comment 28, posted at 19.05.11 10:09:45 by Ben Reply
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  • @Viking (Comment 24) : @Ben (Comment 22) : Meyer Bosman 16 missed from 118 attempts and Stefan Terblanche 15 out of 108 missed.

  • Comment 29, posted at 19.05.11 10:10:35 by waje Reply

     
  • Can we get a tackles attempted and tackles missed stat for Stef and Bosman?

  • Comment 30, posted at 19.05.11 10:11:19 by Ben Reply
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  • @waje (Comment 29) : See I’m sure Stef has played a lot more than Bosman this season. Which means Meyer has to tackle in Stef’s channel a lot. Thanks Waje

  • Comment 31, posted at 19.05.11 10:13:18 by Ben Reply
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  • @Culling Song (Comment 27) : Piet is out for 6 weeks or so with an MCL injury. He’ll be back fighting fit in time for the Currie Cup

  • Comment 32, posted at 19.05.11 10:13:53 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Talent (Comment 26) : I agree. But stats do shed a little light rather than basing everything on pure emotion. The big question is though, will Adi be as dangerous while the opposition is fresh? And is this the game to be testing the water? I don’t think John Plumtree will risk losing a great impact player to the starting line up with the stakes this high.

  • Comment 33, posted at 19.05.11 10:14:01 by waje Reply

     
  • @waje (Comment 33) : Your first stat about Stef. With ball handling and passing and kicking and errors. Can you get that stat for Meyer?

  • Comment 34, posted at 19.05.11 10:16:53 by Ben Reply
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  • @waje (Comment 29) : It really depends on who is doing the counting. I have very different stats for the two which shows they are bothing missing 1 in 5?

  • Comment 35, posted at 19.05.11 10:23:03 by Viking Reply
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    Viking
     
  • If you have a look at all the centres in the comp the stats shows that they miss on average 19% of their tackles. That is a bit alarming to see so many. Its 17% for all players combined.

  • Comment 36, posted at 19.05.11 10:26:21 by Viking Reply
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    Viking
     
  • @Ben (Comment 34) :
    Ball handling 160 Passed 95 Kicked 5 Errors 32.

  • Comment 37, posted at 19.05.11 10:31:14 by waje Reply

     
  • Rob forgot one crucial ingredient we had last year . . .. My motivational article! 😯

  • Comment 38, posted at 19.05.11 10:32:56 by Original Pierre Reply
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    Original Pierre
     
  • Actually just looking at the stats, it has highlighted what I have felt. Meyer Bosman is not creating much. He gets the ball to Stefan too quickly, without trying to do anything with it. This is a big complaint people had with Riaan Swanepoel, that he didn’t attempt enough. Could it actually be a coaching problem at the Sharks. But whatever the problem is, it does explain why the Sharks backline is so easy to defend against.

  • Comment 39, posted at 19.05.11 10:36:19 by waje Reply

     
  • Actually going back, Andries Strauss never created much on attack, Frans Steyn wasn’t that fancy at 12, Riaan Swanepoel thumped it up and Brad Barritt tried a little more than others (but he was under Dick Muir). Do the Sharks’ brain trust not like attacking inside centers? Or are they unable to coach?

  • Comment 40, posted at 19.05.11 10:41:09 by waje Reply

     
  • @waje (Comment 40) : Strauss wasn`t that creative agreed, but he was solid on defense next to Stefan.
    That`s how you win the tight matches . . .

  • Comment 41, posted at 19.05.11 10:45:35 by Original Pierre Reply
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    Original Pierre
     
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 41) : I agree, my comment was about attack. Defensively Frans, Riaan and Andries were very good. You also win tight games by scoring points, so attack has its place.

  • Comment 42, posted at 19.05.11 10:55:00 by waje Reply

     
  • @waje (Comment 23) : When will Joubert be joining us I wonder? πŸ™

  • Comment 43, posted at 19.05.11 11:05:26 by Original Pierre Reply
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    Original Pierre
     
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 43) : Not sure. But you cannot throw him in without him getting up to speed. I have resigned myself to the fact that Meyer Bosman will have to do for the moment.

  • Comment 44, posted at 19.05.11 11:10:14 by waje Reply

     
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 41) : strauss was only solid on defence only in last year’s currie cup, otherwise he is useless…see barbarians game for proof, where Ma’s Nonu made him his b*tch and he was exposed by drew mitchell to be a paceless donkey…

  • Comment 45, posted at 19.05.11 11:12:38 by Megatron Reply

    Megatron
     
  • Its th Bull’s bench that worrys me. We have the likes of Flip, Rossouw, Khun & Gary Botha that provides them with the extra muscle in the last 20-25 minutes that will be decisive!

  • Comment 46, posted at 19.05.11 11:14:11 by dawj Reply

     
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 38) : well, get working on a new one, then πŸ™‚

  • Comment 47, posted at 19.05.11 11:25:27 by robdylan Reply
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  • @dawj (Comment 46) : we’re gonna have Mossie…. one-man wrecking ball. Not to mention van Stadevich, Smit and our new phenom, Marcell Coetzee πŸ™‚

  • Comment 48, posted at 19.05.11 11:26:05 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Megatron (Comment 45) : πŸ˜• can see you are a Puke Watson fan… No need for the avatar pic, Can “hear” it in the way you type.

  • Comment 49, posted at 19.05.11 11:47:54 by SharksRTB Reply

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  • @SharksRTB (Comment 49) : sadly mistaken, i’m an EP Kings supporter!

    are you disputing my post or are you feeling precious about your strauss? πŸ™„

  • Comment 50, posted at 19.05.11 11:57:10 by Megatron Reply

    Megatron
     
  • @Megatron (Comment 50) :
    So Mega do you think the Saders can take the Chiefs this weekend with all their injuries?

  • Comment 51, posted at 19.05.11 12:15:53 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 51) : nope, they’re in big poo…sbw out, matt todd out…

    the chiefs are on a high, sivi getting his mojo back, messam is immense, beaver starting to think, kahui to run @ crotty & fruean all day.

  • Comment 52, posted at 19.05.11 12:29:30 by Megatron Reply

    Megatron
     
  • @Megatron (Comment 50) : Strauss might not be the best international centre but he certainly did a good job for us last year and we`ve got the silverware to proof this.

  • Comment 53, posted at 19.05.11 12:30:11 by Original Pierre Reply
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    Original Pierre
     
  • Sharks team unchanged from Hurricanes match except Botes in for Keegan…..why am I not surprised? πŸ™„

    Mostert on the bench instead of Bresler the only other change.

  • Comment 54, posted at 19.05.11 12:37:20 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 54) : Oh and the Beast is starting

  • Comment 55, posted at 19.05.11 12:38:43 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 54) : Sigh!!! πŸ™„

  • Comment 56, posted at 19.05.11 12:39:33 by Ben Reply
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  • @Original Pierre (Comment 53) : like i said he was ONLY good for the currie cup last year…before that, nowhere.

  • Comment 57, posted at 19.05.11 12:59:47 by Megatron Reply

    Megatron
     
  • @waje (Comment 23) : Strauss was signed to go way before he reached form…and honestly, before he became the legend of the CC final – he was not the hottest piece of meat in the kitchen – that can be verified by all the negative comments he received before he peaked…

  • Comment 58, posted at 19.05.11 13:17:57 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 58) : That’s very true.

  • Comment 59, posted at 19.05.11 13:20:46 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 59) : I dont lie… πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 60, posted at 19.05.11 13:22:44 by Ice Reply
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  • @SharksRTB (Comment 49) : don’t really care about who you support. not disputing your post either. just the way you are getting it across.

  • Comment 61, posted at 19.05.11 13:23:13 by SharksRTB Reply

    SharksRTB
     
  • @Ice (Comment 58) : Strauss never had a chance being yo-yoed between Sharks and Sharks XV. And he rarely got a decent flyhalf and/or scrumhalf inside him. His defence was always spot on, but he only shone when Pat and Charl delivered quality ball to him. Bosman isn’t using the same ball as effectively.

  • Comment 62, posted at 19.05.11 13:28:55 by waje Reply

     
  • @waje (Comment 62) : The point is “they let a good guy go” – merely pointing out that before his potential was realised – he was signed to FS. Anycase – you can not always look onto others to make you “shine”…so in essence what you are saying is, that if Lambs and Charl got an off day – he’ll be off form too. That kind sounds like Morne Steyn / Fourie du Preez. I maintain without a good scrummie and especially Fourie – Morne is not the deal some people make him out to be..but thats my opinion.

    Just for the record – I love AS – one of my fav players and hated to see him go – so this is not a shot at him!

  • Comment 63, posted at 19.05.11 13:39:24 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 63) : Strauss was a great character on and off the field. He served the Union well eventhough he was messed around. It is disappointing that he left, but we have to move on. Meyer Bosman is here to stay, so hopefully he can sort himself out and start returning the faith management have put in him.

  • Comment 64, posted at 19.05.11 14:22:44 by waje Reply

     
  • @waje (Comment 62) : with ball in hand strauss shone? you must be kidding πŸ˜†

  • Comment 65, posted at 19.05.11 14:33:56 by Megatron Reply

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