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NikoM

Niko Matawalu

Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter believes new signing Niko Matawalu can add some real ‘X-Factor’ to his backline after he today agreed a deal until the end of the season.

The Fijian international will head to Sandy Park from Aviva Premiership rivals Bath Rugby and will join up with his new team-mates once the current autumn internationals are concluded.

Equally at home either on the wing or at scrum-half, Baxter believes the 27-year-old is a great addition to the Chiefs make-up and is excited at what he can bring to the club moving forward.

“Initially Niko’s joining until the end of the season,” said Baxter. “Initially we want to have a good look at him and then we’ll see if there is an opportunity beyond that.

“As a club we’re really looking forward to bringing him here. We had a good look at him previously when he first decided to move on from Glasgow to Bath, but now the opportunity has arisen for us to sign him and it’s come at the right time for us.

We’re not expecting him to be 100 per cent straight away as he has had a relatively lengthy injury, but he’s fully fit now, he’s ready to play, and we’re hoping he will get some good game time during these autumn internationals to help get him right up to speed.”

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curriecup

Currie Cup

Although the Currie Cup has been treated like an unwanted stepchild this year, the competition has still produced quality matches and some exceptional players have emerged.

The South African Rugby Union has been marketing and pushing the Springbok brand so exclusively that traditional derby games like the Blue Bulls versus Western Province have been played on Friday afternoons at 17.00!

Who in the world thought it fit to play such a big derby game on a day and at a time like that?

It’s no secret that the Golden Lions repeatedly asked that the deciding pool match between them and the Sharks be moved away from the Friday 17.00 time slot.

SARU wanted nothing of it.

Because the Lions had no big derby match on a Saturday during this year’s Currie Cup competition, the biggest crowd attendance was just on 8,000.

I will let you do the sums.

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Eben Etzebeth

Eben Etzebeth

Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth could earn substantial amounts during a short stint in England.

Bok coach Allister Coetzee told the media in London on Monday that the Stormers lock was set to sign a short-term deal with a Premiership club in England.

Etzebeth, 25, was earlier linked with a move to Saracens, a club which boasts a rich tradition of fielding South African players.

That move failed to materialise, but according to Netwerk24, the lock enforcer is now being linked to Bristol.

According to the Afrikaans publication, rumours are doing the rounds that Etzebeth could earn up to £40 000 (about R665 200) per game.

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DHL Western ProvinceThe Western Province Rugby Football Union confirmed on Monday that it had applied for, and obtained, an order for the provisional liquidation of Western Province Rugby (Pty) Ltd, in which it is a 75% shareholder.

President Thelo Wakefield and Group CEO Paul Zacks said that the union had retained expert legal and accounting advice and had fully explored all options before applying for liquidation of its commercial trading entity.

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IrelandAs Rory Best declared in his on-field post-match interview at a rowdy Soldier Field in Chicago, it’s been a long time coming. Just the 111 years, that’s all. But at last, that black stain in Irish rugby has been removed, with a first ever victory over the All Blacks in 29 attempts.

Fully deserved it was too. Soldier Field crackled with atmosphere, vast swathes of the 63,300 bedecked in green watched Ireland dominate vast swathes of the first-half and kept counter-punching in a riotous rollercoaster of a second half, ultimately outscoring the back-to-back world champions and runaway winners of the Rugby Championship by five tries to four, and thus end their world record 18-match sequence of test wins.

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IrelandNew ZealandIreland (25) 40 / 29 (8) All Blacks

Ireland and the New Zealand All Blacks did battle in the End Of Year Tours 2016 Internationals at

Soldier Field, Chicago, USA, at 22:00 SA Time (15:00 USA Time, 20:00 GMT, Sunday 06:00 NZ Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.

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We have a NEW SuperBru Pool for all to join!

  • The End Of Year Tours (November Internationals) 2016 starts in on Saturday 5 November 2016 at o2:00 SA Time, so hurry up and do not delay to register for it!

This year we are doing it a bit differently and opened our Pools up to all readers of Rugby-Talk.com, but we encourage you to register as a subsciber on Rugby-Talk.com anyway, as our banter and commenting about our Pools will mostly take place here on the website and not on the SuperBru banter boards! It is so easy to register and such fun to discuss rugby here.

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Free State CheetahsVodacom Blue BullsFS Cheetahs (18) 36 / 16 (9) Blue Bulls (Final Score)

The Toyota Free State Cheetahs and Vodacom Blue Bulls did battle in the Currie Cup Premier Division 2016 Final at

Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein at 16:00 SA Time (14:00 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.

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New ZealandAustraliaAll Blacks (15) 37 / 10 (7) Wallabies (Final Score)

The New Zealand All Blacks and Australian Wallabies did battle in the final Bledisloe Cup Test of the 2016 season at

Eden Park, Auckland, at 08:35 SA Time (06:35 GMT, 19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.

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Vodacom Blue BullsDHL WPBlue Bulls (16) 36 / 30 (10) Western Province (Final Score)

The Vodacom Blue Bulls and DHL Western Province did battle in the Currie Cup Premier Division 2016 Semi-Finals at

Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria at 18:00 SA Time (16:00 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.

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Free State CheetahsXerox Golden LionsFS Cheetahs (26) 55 / 17 (0) Golden Lions (Final Score)

The Toyota Free State Cheetahs and Xerox Golden Lions did battle in the Currie Cup Premier Division 2016 Semi-Final at

Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein at 15:00 SA Time (13:00 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.

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Eben Etzebeth

Eben Etzebeth

Saracens are in advanced talks to sign South Africa lock Eben Etzebeth on a short-term deal.

Etzebeth is set to move to England following his international matches in November.

The 24-year-old is contracted to the Stormers and the South African Rugby Union, but last year had a three-month spell in Japan during the southern hemisphere off-season.

South African sources have indicated a similar deal is expected with Saracens.

Etzebeth, who has 53 Springbok caps, is regarded as one of the best forwards in world rugby, and the deal would be one of the biggest signings in Premiership history.

The deal would have to be approved by SA Rugby and, if it is completed, Etzebeth would act as injury dispensation for Saracens’ former club captain Alistair Hargreaves, who was forced to retire this month because of concussion.

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ArgentinaAustraliaLos Pumas (8) 21 / 33 (18) Wallabies (Final Score)

The Argentinian Pumas and Australian Wallabies did battle in The Rugby Championship 2016 at

Twickenham Stadium, London, England, at 20:30 SA Time (18:30 GMT, 15:30 ARG Time, Sunday 05:30 AEST).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.

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South AfricaNew ZealandSpringboks (9) 15 / 57 (12) All Blacks (Final Score)

The South African Springboks and New Zealand All Blacks did battle in The Rugby Championship 2016 at

Growthpoint Kings Park, Durban, at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT, Sunday 04:05 NZ Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.

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SpringboksFaf de Klerk and Damian de Allende were included in Springbok starting line-up to face the All Blacks in Durban on Saturday in the final Test of the 2016 Castle Lager Rugby Championship.

The two personnel changes are both due to injuries – scrumhalf De Klerk comes into the starting team again as a replacement for Rudy Paige, who suffered a concussion in the victory over the Wallabies in Pretoria, while De Allende replaces Jesse Kriel, who was ruled out of action as a result of his groin injury.

In a positional change in midfield, Juan de Jongh moves from inside to outside centre, with De Allende now wearing the No 12 jersey. The two wings, Bryan Habana and Francois Hougaard, will swap jerseys for this Test.

The rest of the match-day squad was kept unchanged from the line-up that defeated the Wallabies by 18-10 last Saturday.

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ArgentinaNew ZealandLos Pumas (3) 17 / 36 (29) All Blacks (Final Score)

The Argentinian Los Pumas and New Zealand All Blacks did battle in The Rugby Championship 2016 at

Estadio José Amalfitani, Buenos Aires, at 00:10 SA Time (22:10 GMT, 19:10 ARG Time, Sunday 11:10 NZ Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 on TV in SA.

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South AfricaAustraliaSpringboks (12) 18 / 10 (10) Wallabies (Final Score)

The South African Springboks and Australian Wallabies did battle in The Rugby Championship 2016 at

Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT, Sunday 01:05 AEST).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.

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South_Africa_national_rugby_union_team.svgRudy Paige will make his starting debut for the Springboks on Saturday at Loftus Versfeld in the team’s penultimate Castle Lager Rugby Championship fixture of the year.

The inclusion of Paige at scrumhalf is one of three changes made to the Springbok line-up that started the match against the All Blacks two weeks ago in Christchurch.

Paige, who has made four Test appearances from the Bok bench, will partner the experienced Morné Steyn in the halfbacks. They take over from Faf de Klerk and Elton Jantjies respectively, both of whom started in the last six Tests of the year.

The only other change to the starting line-up sees Pat Lambie return to the team for the first time since he suffered concussion in the series opener against Ireland in June. Lambie will play fullback, where he is preferred over Johan Goosen. The Cell C Sharks player, who will earn his 52nd Springbok cap, has already scored 137 Test points in the Green and Gold jersey.

The Springbok forward pack that played against the All Blacks in Christchurch was kept unchanged, with hooker Adriaan Strauss again leading out the team after he suffered a knock to the lower back in New Zealand.

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solly

Alan Solomons

langilangi

Langilangi Haupeakui

There were some big news announcements yesterday from both of Scotland’s professional clubs. The one from Edinburgh Rugby was about a departure while the one from Glasgow Warriors was about an arrival. Sticking one’s neck out it would seem that both announcements were seen as positive news by the clubs’ fans.

Edinburgh Rugby announced that Head Coach Alan Solomons was leaving and would be replaced in the interim by Duncan Hodge while Glasgow Warriors announced the acquisition of powerhouse player Langilangi Haupeakui from US PRO Rugby outfit Sacramento Express.

Alan Solomons vacates his post before completing his contract which would have taken him to the end of the current season. His previous contract expired at the end of last season and he had signed to stay on for one more year in Edinburgh.

There has always seemed to a bit of mixed feelings between the Edinburgh fans with some rather more supportive of Solomons than others. He took over at a time were really struggling and for some he has brought stability to the club and a measure of success, taking Edinburgh to a European Cup final, albeit in the second tier of Europe, and claiming back the 1872 Cup from bitter rivals Glasgow Warriors.

His critics feel that he has not done anymore with Edinburgh than a local coach could given the same level of investment and felt that his game plan was far too prescriptive and conservative and stifled his team, now where have we heard that before? It would seem that he didn’t have the copyright on this as far as many South African coaches go in the eyes of the various sets of fans.

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Chris Ashton

Chris Ashton

Saracens and England winger Chris Ashton has been banned for 13 weeks after being found guilty of biting Northampton prop Alex Waller.

After a six-hour hearing, a disciplinary panel found the 29-year-old bit Waller on the arm at a ruck during Saracens’ 27-12 Premiership victory at Allianz Park on Saturday.

The panel looked at two counts of biting but dismissed the second charge.

Ashton, who denied both offences, can play again on 19 December.

Saracens will receive a full written judgment from the disciplinary panel on Thursday, then have 24 hours to decide whether to appeal.

The minimum suspension for a guilty verdict was 12 weeks, with a more serious offence potentially carrying a punishment of up to 208 weeks.

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AustraliaArgentinaWallabies (21) 36 / 20 (6) Los Pumas (Final Score)

The Australian Wallabies and Argentinian Los Pumas did battle in The Rugby Championship 2016 at

nib Stadium, Perth, Australia, at 12:05 SA Time (18:05 AWST, 20:05 AEST, 10:05 GMT, 07:05 ARG Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.

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New ZealandSouth AfricaAll Blacks (15) 41 / 13 (10) Springboks (Final Score)

the New Zealand All Blacks and South African Springboks did battle in The Rugby Championship 2016 at

AMI Stadium, Christchurch, New Zealand, at 09:35 SA Time (07:35 GMT, 19:35 NZ Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.

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Florianinjured

Toulouse let Florian Fritz play on in the match after this head knock

“It’s definitely a game of how big can we get them, how quickly, and let’s see if they can cope – otherwise, we’ll move them on.”

Shaun Longstaff, the former Scotland wing turned international rugby agent, might be talking about broiler chickens or beef cattle, livestock and commodities, rather than professional sportsmen.

But this is the ruthless business of modern rugby at the elite end – and the source of Longstaff’s alarm.

His agency represents some of the sport’s top global talent. Scotland internationals Tommy Seymour and Pete Horne, Ireland duo Conor Murray and Simon Zebo, England’s Dan Cole, and Australian Will Genia are among the more illustrious names on his books.

Longstaff, 44, has seen the game change, watched players pump themselves bigger and stronger. He’s observed the physical toll – the enforced retirements, the frightening and lingering symptoms of concussion.

He seeks the counsel of surgeons and scientists, and finds himself holding increasingly frank exchanges with his players about their quality of life after rugby.

And he worries about his role in it all, the path his sport is treading, and what might become of those whose careers and well-being he oversees.

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Edinburgh RugbyHead coach Alan Solomons says criticism of Edinburgh’s playing style is ‘manifestly unfair’.

Solomons watched his team register their first win of the Pro12 season against Scarlets at Murrayfield, but some have criticised the side’s lack of attacking ambition under his stewardship.

“Personally I think the criticism is unfair,” Solomons said. “This talk they are under instruction not to run the ball is nonsense.”

Solomons is adamant that Edinburgh’s attacking prowess has developed under his assistant Duncan Hodge.

“We have worked very hard on our attack, Hodgy is doing a good job and it is a question of playing the conditions correctly and getting the result. It is professional sport and it is about winning.

“No-one has given them any instruction on how to play. They have all the options available to take under our game management plan. That criticism is manifestly unfair.

“We are improving year on year. We are carrying a number of injuries [Al Dickinson, Anton Bresler, Nasi Manu, Jason Tovey, Will Helu and Damien Hoyland are all currently unavailable] and we are not a big budget squad.

“We are not Toulon. We don’t have a massive amount of money but I think we have a good group of players.”

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gatspence

Warren Gatland and John Spencer

The 1971 and 1974 Lions were the greatest touring teams that have departed these shores, but the monopoly they appear to have on key positions in the Four Home Unions is now coming under scrutiny. The appointment of John Spencer, the 1971 Lions and England centre, as manager of the 2017 Lions is a case in point.

Spencer’s installation was not greeted with unanimous approval, and the same was true when Tom Grace, the 1974 Lions and Ireland wing, was appointed as Lions chairman.

The 1971 and 1974 Lions have rightfully had a major influence on the future of the touring side, and that has been recognised with luminaries from those sides being awarded the majority of the management, coaching and administrative roles in the intervening 40 plus years.

However, exactly how appointments are made in Lions rugby has always been shrouded in fog.

Four Home Unions appointments have always had a whiff of the clandestine about them, with vested national interests and horse-trading to the fore. As a result, in the professional era they have been a mixed bag.

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World RugbyRugby administrators worldwide are nearing an agreement on a new rugby union calendar, which will come into effect after the World Cup in 2019.

It has been learned there will be fewer international matches, with summer tours set to be scrapped at least once per four-year cycle.

The Six Nations will not move from its traditional February to March slot.

The British and Irish Lions series and the World Cup will retain their places in the calendar.

The Lions are set to tour in July and August in 2021.

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GLRUThe Xerox Golden Lions team to face the Free State Cheetahs in their Currie Cup clash on Friday evening in Bloemfontein has been announced.

In an enforced change, Andries Ferreira comes in to the second row to replace the injured Lourens Erasmus, and will lock the scrum with the youngster JP du Preez who impressed in his starting debut against Western Province last week.

A rotational change sees Cyle Brink replacing Ruan Ackermann, who drops to the bench in the loose trio.

Among the reserves, Martin Muller comes in as cover at lock, and Pieter Scholtz moves up as the prop cover.

The Xerox Golden Lions will be looking to build on their impressive display last week against Western Province when they travel to the City of Roses to play the high flying Cheetahs who are unbeaten this season, and in so doing push on for a play-off position in defence of the trophy they won last season.

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AustraliaSouth AfricaWallabies (13) 23 / 17 (14) Springboks (Final Score)

The Australian Wallabies and South African Springboks did battle in The Rugby Championship 2016 at

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Australia, at 12:05 SA Time (10:05 GMT, 20:05 AEST).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.

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New ZealandArgentinaAll Blacks (24) 57 / 22 (19) Los Pumas (Final Score)

The New Zealand All Blacks and Argentinian Los Pumas did battle in The Rugby Championship 2016 at

Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand, at 09:35 SA Time (07:35 GMT, 19:35 NZ Time, 04:35 ARG Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.

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Guinness Pro12Gregor Townsend has named his team to play Leinster in the 1st home game of the new season tomorrow afternoon (kick-off 15:00 BST, 14:00 GMT, 16:00 SA Time).

The Warriors will run out on the new artificial pitch at Scotstoun Stadium for the 1st time in front of a crowd in excess of 7 000.

Following last Saturday’s 41 / 5 win over Connacht in Galway, Fraser Brown replaces Pat MacArthur at hooker and Sila Puafisi comes in for Zander Fagerson at tighthead prop.

After his man of the match display last weekend, Stuart Hogg once again starts at fullback, with Leonardo Sarto named on the right wing and Tommy Seymour lining up on the opposite side.

Alex Dunbar and Sam Johnson form the centre partnership, with Peter Horne and co-captain Henry Pyrgos continuing at flyhalf and scrumhalf respectively.

Gordon Reid is once again named at loosehead prop and he’ll pack down in the front row alongside Brown and Puafisi.

Tim Swinson and co-captain Jonny Gray start their 2nd consecutive game together in the engine room.

It’s also the same loose forwards which started in Galway last Saturday, with Rob Harley, Simone Favaro and Ryan Wilson combining.

Alex Allan and Lee Jones come onto the bench, with Ryan Grant and Sean Lamont not involved this weekend. Allan could make his 1irst appearance in a Warriors shirt since February.

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SpringboksSpringbok coach Allister Coetzee has included Francois Hougaard, Juan de Jongh and Jesse Kriel in a revamped backline for the Castle Lager Rugby Championship Test against the Wallabies at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday.

In the only change amongst the forwards, tighthead prop Lourens Adriaanse will earn his first start for the Springboks in place of Vincent Koch, while Eben Etzebeth will become the youngest player ever to reach the milestone of 50 Tests for South Africa this weekend.

Coetzee made four changes in total to the back division which featured in the loss to Argentina in Salta two week ago. One of them is because of injury while another is a positional switch.

Hougaard comes into the side as replacement for Ruan Combrinck, who suffered a fractured leg against the Pumas, and he will play on the left wing, meaning the experienced Bryan Habana moves over to the right.

The new centre combination of De Jongh and Jesse Kriel gets a run in the place of Damian de Allende and Lionel Mapoe, who has been included on the replacements bench. De Jongh and Kriel both featured as replacements for South Africa in the first two Tests against Argentina, in Nelspruit and Salta.

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Warren Gatland

Warren Gatland

Warren Gatland has been named British and Irish Lions coach for the 2nd time and will lead them on the 2017 tour of New Zealand.

The Kiwi will step down from his job with Wales and be replaced on a temporary basis by Rob Howley.

“It’s a huge honour when you get offered probably the biggest job in world rugby against the best opposition in world rugby,” said Gatland.

The Lions have not won a series against New Zealand since 1971.

“When I was offered the position, it was definitely a ‘yes’ straightaway,” added Gatland. “To challenge yourself against the best, there is no bigger challenge.”

Howley took over from Gatland the last time the 52-year-old took on the Lions role in 2013, when they went to Australia and claimed a 2-1 series win.

Gatland intends to travel to New Zealand on Thursday with tour manager and former England captain John Spencer to start planning.

The Lions face 10 games on what will be an extremely challenging trip, which includes 3 Tests against the All Blacks – unbeaten on home soil since 2009.

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  • Bullscot 18 Jan 2017, 12:46 SAST - Looking quickly at the squad can't see any glaring omissions of players I would have preferred to be there especially...
  • Bullscot 18 Jan 2017, 12:43 SAST - Congratulations Cornell du Preez. He has turned out to be a very purchase by Edinburgh, has impressed me from the...
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  • Bullscot 15 Jan 2017, 17:43 SAST - Very recent bit of news: "EPCR confirm an Untowards Incident Review Group will convene early this week to look into...
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