The United Rugby Championship may be close to disarray given the desperately unfortunate news coming from South Africa, but an Irish derby is an Irish derby.
These oldest of old rivals had a right old arm wrestle in front of a sizeable crowd in a Baltic Ballsbridge, at the end of which most left disappointed as Ulster recorded their first win at the RDS since March 2013 and only their second in total.
They could thank their defence as much as their attack for, after a dominant first 16 minutes, Ulster had slightly less of the territory and possession overall but made 199 tackles, Rob Herring and Alan O’Connor leading the way with 22 apiece in 80 minute shifts, with Nick Timoney augmenting 19 tackles with 17 carries as well as winning a few turnovers in a huge performance.
Even Marty Moore chipped in with 15 tackles in a 70 minute shift, while Stuart McCloskey and James Hume regularly brought fast line speed and sharp tackle execution as Ulster prevented Leinster from reaching the edges as they normally do, leaving the sharp-looking Adam Byrne under served.
It was tough too on Ross Molony and Scott Penny, who had mighty games, and Robbie Henshaw, but Leinster lacked some of their customary rhythm after the November hiatus – albeit this was the same for Ulster – with their lineout and breakdown work not of their normal standards.
Frank Murphy’s whistle dominated proceedings, as tends to be the case, and the majority in the 15-11 penalty count against Leinster were rewarding players in the jackal.
Ultimately though, it felt like Ulster brought a little more emotion and intensity.
Ulster’s intent and control of the ball from the off was impressive, twice going to the corner and three times putting Leinster through big defensive sets. The highlights were a brilliant tackle close to the line by McGrath, as he does, to deny Billy Burns and Molony’s strength over the ball to lift the siege before Cooney was surprisingly wide with a straight 40 metre penalty.
However, Ulster’s dominance of territory and possession was rewarded after Timoney won a turnover penalty to earn a lineout outside the Leinster 22.
A strong maul, good carries from Herring, Sam Carter (off a lovely pass from Moore) and Andrew Warwick, led to James Hume fending Jordan Larmour on the outside and although Larmour recovered to haul him down, from the recycle Greg Jones held his depth with an unstoppable out-in line. Cooney converted.
Leinster held firm again before Henshaw won a penalty in the jackal as the opposing blindsides, Leavy and Jones, departed in the 21st minute for HIAs with neither returning.
The home side and crowd were sparked into life by Ciarán Frawley cutting back against the grain and breaking out from inside his own 22. He opted to chip Craig Gilroy and was blocked but, despite the howls of protest, Frawley pretty much ran straight into him.
Moving up the gears and showing better variety in their attack as Henshaw’s superb pass found Larmour on the edge, Leinster opted for the corner but couldn’t launch their maul as Devin Toner was forced to tap loosely under pressure from David McCann.
There were other attacks, Adam Byrne beating the blitz to make a big carry and offloading to Jimmy O’Brien, who did likewise for Larmour, but it was Ulster who came closest again when Burns stepped between Rhys Ruddock and Frawley but couldn’t complete the link with the supporting Cooney.
The final act of the half was a harsh penalty against Furlong in the jackal, which had him with his hands on his head in disbelief, on the premise that the ruck had just about formed. But Cooney was wide with a difficult 45 metre penalty near the right touchline.
On the resumption Molony made a huge gallop from McGrath’s disguised pass only for McCloskey to shoot up from the recycle to nail Ross Byrne. It looked a tad high but Leo Colgan seemed not to even review it.
Adapting to the wind, now against them, the normally utterly reliable Herring had a rare crooked throw. In any event, Ulster’s line speed and tackling continued to stifle Leinster, and although James Tracy pounced on loose ball, Murphy then penalised Penny for not having rolled away.
Cooney made it 10-0, whereupon the game turned out of the blue. It emanated in Michael Lowry opting for the questionable and certainly riskier option of countering from inside his 22 when there was plenty of grass down field.
Penny pounced on a loose ball and scampered up the touchline, Ulster killing the ball to concede a penalty and Leinster opted for the corner. They hammered away at the Ulster line off the maul in trademark style and Henshaw, despite having to check and pick the ball when McGrath’s pass scooted along the ground, showed good footwork and strength to dive over.
Ross Byrne drew the sides level before being replaced by Harry Byrne, who brought excitement but less reliability. A kick out on the full led to Max Deegan coming around the side of the maul and Nathan Doak, on for Cooney, kicked Ulster back in front with a fine penalty.
The younger Byrne compounded that error by chipping out on the full and then knocking on, albeit when hit by James Hume simultaneously as Ulster’s line speed extracted them from trouble again.
Yet another penalty in the jackal, this one awarded to Rob Lyttle even though Ross Kane not rolling away was the first offence, put Ulster inside the Leinster 22 entering the final five minutes, only for Penny to win yet another one.
Almost fittingly though, Ulster’s policy of using shooters in defence ensured they had the final, decisive say. Burns shot up to force Frawley to push the pass and then Hume shot up to pick off Tommy O’Brien’s pass for a free run to the line and Doak’s conversion sealed the deal.
Scoring sequence: 16 mins Jones try, Cooney con 0-7; (half-time 0-7); 47 mins Cooney pen 0-10; 51 mins Henshaw try, R Byrne con 7-10; 65 mins R Byrne pen 10-10; 68 Cooney pen 10-13; 79 mins Hume try, Doak con 10-20.
Leinster: Jimmy O’Brien; Adam Byrne, Robbie Henshaw, Ciaran Frawley, Jordan Larmour; Ross Byrne, Luke McGrath (capt); Ed Byrne, James Tracy, Tadhg Furlong; Ross Molony, Devin Toner; Dan Leavy, Scott Penny, Rhys Ruddock.
Replacements: Max Deegan for Leavy (21 mins), Sean Cronin for Tracy, Peter Dooley for E Byrne (both 52 mins), Will Connors for Ruddock (60 mins), Nick McCarthy for McGrath, Harry Byrne for R Byrne (both 66 mins), Vakh Abdaladze for Furlong (69 mins), Tommy O’Brien for Larmour (71 mins).
Ulster: Michael Lowry; Craig Gilroy, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Ethan McIlroy; Billy Burns, John Cooney; Andrew Warwick, Rob Herring, Marty Moore; Alan O’Connor (capt), Sam Carter; Greg Jones, Nick Timoney, David McCann.
Replacements: Marcus Rea for Jones (21 mins), Eric O’Sullivan for Warwick (46 mins), Mick Kearney for Carter (47 mins), Rob Lyttle for Lowry (52 mins), Nathan Doak for Cooney (60 mins), Ross Kane for Moore (71 mins). Not used: Tom Stewart, Angus Curtis.
Hyatt Hotels Corporation has entered into management agreements with Stratford City Hotels Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of M&L Hospitality, for Hyatt Regency London Stratford and Hyatt House London Stratford. The 225-room Hyatt Regency London Stratford and the 127-room Hyatt House London Stratford are expected to open in Q2 2022 following an extensive refurbishment. Both hotels will be conveniently located within one of Europe’s largest urban shopping and entertainment complexes, Westfield Stratford City, and a short walk to Stratford Station and Queen Elizabeth Park.
“The addition of these two hotels will be another exciting step in growing Hyatt’s brand presence in the United Kingdom and in creating a network of hotels across the key commercial and leisure markets in the country,” said Felicity Black Roberts, vice president of development Europe, Hyatt. “We worked closely with M&L Hospitality to choose the right brands for the location and are pleased to be continuing our relationship with them following the successful openings of Hyatt Regency Manchester and Hyatt House Manchester in 2019.”
Designed with productivity in mind, Hyatt Regency London Stratford will offer business and leisure travellers alike a stress-free and seamless environment to stay connected. Guests can enjoy 628m² of meeting space, along with a spacious restaurant, bar and an open-air terrace. Hyatt House London Stratford will provide guests with modern, apartment-style suites with fully equipped kitchens and flexible workspaces, designed to make them feel at home, especially during extended stays.
The hotels are located close to Stratford Station, one of the UK’s busiest train stations, giving guests swift access to Central London in only seven minutes. Stratford International Station connects guests to St Pancras International Station and transfers to the Eurostar train, which provides services to Paris, Brussels, Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
The properties will also be easily accessible to Heathrow International Airport via the new Queen Elizabeth Crossrail line due to open mid-2022, which will offer services to Stratford in approximately 45 minutes. Furthermore, London City Airport is only 20 minutes from Stratford on the Docklands Light Railway, making it an ideal location for business and leisure guests.
“We are pleased to be able to continue our work with Hyatt in the United Kingdom,” said Neil Maxwell, chief executive officer of M&L Hospitality. “Our strategy focuses on identifying key gateway cities with strong economic growth. Stratford is experiencing a real boom and our plans to introduce these Hyatt House and Hyatt Regency hotels to London will capitalize on this.”
After France reopened its borders to British travellers, there was a huge sigh of relief among British skiers.
The French Alps are the number one skiing destination for Britons and many feel it’s high time to get back on the slopes and enjoy the mountains once again.
One location that’s very popular with British holidaymakers and second home buyers is the smaller resort of Les Gets in the French Alps. It is is only an hour’s drive from Geneva Airport – making it the perfect destination for British skiers and snowboarders looking for easy access to the Alps.
You can leave your desk at 5pm on a Friday evening and be in the resort that night. That kind of easy access will leave some dreaming of a property, so that they can make the most of their holidays and perhaps squeeze in a few more.
British holidaymakers can once again travel to France after the country eased Covid restrictions
We take a look at a development of three properties for sale in the French ski resort of Les Gets (pictured)
A new development of just three chalets being built in Les Gets features the kind of homes many skiers would love, but the price tags starting at more than £1.5million will be beyond the reach of many.
The prices reflect how Les Gets popularity, accessibility and limited supply of properties mean there is huge demand for holiday homes in the area.
You will need deep pockets if you want to own a home in Les Gets. But the builders of this development are keen to stress that the properties are ‘keenly priced’ for the local property market.
The four-bedroom chalets spanning across three levels are available via skiingproperty.com from €1,848,000 euros, the equivalent of £1,536,762. It is rare to find a whole chalet in the area for less than €2million, the equivalent of £1,670,890.
However, it is possible to buy in Les Gets on smaller budgets, if you are happy to have an apartment instead of a chalet. As we highlight below, good quality apartments can be bought for around the £300,000 mark.
The chalets can be found on the Route des Chavannes, a two-minute drive from the main Chavannes ski lifts, although skiers can take the Gentian piste down to the Gibannaz area and walk just 300 metres to the front door of the chalets.
The luxury chalets are each sold as freehold and if the new owners want to rent them out, they do so under their own arrangements once purchased.
The freehold chalets in Les Gets have yet to be completed (pictured: computer generated images of what the properties will look like once they are finished)
Les Gets (pictured) is popular among British skiers and snowboarders in the winter, and keen mountain bike riders and hikers in the summer
Les Gets is a ski resort that is part of the huge Portes du Soleil ski network, one of the world’s largest that links 13 different villages including Morzine and Avoriaz
Les Gets is popular among British skiers and snowboarders in the winter, as well as keen mountain bike riders and hikers in the summer.
The ski resort is part of the huge Portes du Soleil ski network, one of the world’s largest that links 13 different villages including Morzine, Avoriaz and Chalet on the French side and Champéry, Les Crosets and Morgins on the Swiss side.
During the summer, the bike park at Les Gets offers one of the largest network of mountain biking trails for all levels in the Alps.
There are also several famous mountain passes – known as ‘cols’ – that are often used during sections of the Tour de France cycling race.
Les Gets can be reached from Geneva Airport in around one hour by car and it is also one of the closest major ski resorts that can be reached by car from Britain.
Les Gets can be reached from Geneva Airport in around one hour by car and it is also one of the closest major ski resorts that can be reached by car from Britain
An artists impression of what the interiors of the chalets could look like
The new build chalets have four double bedrooms, three bathrooms and 314 square metres of living space.
They extend across three floors, with ensuite bathrooms for the two bedrooms on the top floor and a shared bathroom for the two bedrooms on the lower floor. The top floor bedrooms also have balconies with mountains views.
The main floor includes two separate living areas and an open plan kitchen. There is a large balcony, a private garden and a garage.
Les Gets is well-known for its family appeal, and this four-bedroom property is ideal for families looking for winter and summer holiday accommodation in the French Alps.
Because the property is being sold as a classic freehold, the owners can choose to live in the property or use it as a holiday home. They can also choose the rent the property out when they are not using it.
Prices for the four-bed chalets start at €1,848,000 euros, the equivalent of £1,536,762
During winter, Mont Chery offers some hidden off-piste skiing mostly known only to locals
Les Gets flats for sale under £400k
This one-bed is in the La Turche neighbourhood
Les Gets also offers properties for sale for those with a smaller budget.
Properties currently for sale include a one-bedroom apartment for sale via skiingproperty.com, which has a price tag of £391,011.
It is part of a new-build block of 21 apartments, each with their own balcony.
The ski-in ski-out flat is in the La Turche neighbourhood, which is just five minutes away by car.
This two-bed apartment is just 200 metres from the ski lift in Les Perrieres
Also available is a two-bed apartment that is just 200 metres from the ski lift in Les Perrieres, at the entrance Les Gets ski resort.
The traditional style new build flat is on the market via skiingproperty.com for £310,936.
The pretty resort of Les Gets is a traditional Alpine village with classic chalet style accommodation.
During the summer, the network of hiking trails is vast. The cable car to Mont Chery offers incredible views of Western Europe’s highest peak, Mont Blanc, and the easy trail from the cable car station to Mont Caly offers some of the best views in the Alps.
Recommended lunch venues include Les Chevrelles, a pretty farmhouse restaurant at the end of the walk, it is then possible to take the ‘petit train’ back to the village centre.
During winter, Mont Chery offers some hidden off-piste skiing mostly known only to locals.
La Grande Ourse is a mountain restaurant on the slopes of Mont Chery where the British owners – and chef – organise weekly dinners where they will bring diners up in cat track vehicles. The fantastic food is known throughout the area and it’s popular with both British and French guests.
The three chalets for sale are unfurnished. As a new build property, the buyer will benefit from a lower notary fee of 2 per cent – resale properties have much higher fees of 7 to 8 per cent -, allowing for further savings.
In the future, if the owner decides to rent out their chalet when they are not using it, they can reclaim the 20 per cent VAT from the property purchase price, providing that certain conditions are met.
We are open and ready to welcome British skiers and snowboarders back to our slopes for the rest of the winter
Julian Walker, of skiingproperty.com, said: ‘This is a rare opportunity to purchase a new chalet in a resort that normally sees prices for similar properties well in excess of €2million. Les Gets is a great summer and winter destination and just an hour’s drive from Geneva Airport, making it an attractive offering for families. The past two summers have seen record numbers of visitors in the resort as people flock to the mountain for the fresh air and space’.
And Les Gets’ tourist office director Alexis Bongard, said: ‘We are delighted that the French Government has finally lifted these border restrictions that impacted Les Gets so badly, and of course created so much stress and worry for British people heading here.
‘We are open and ready to welcome British skiers and snowboarders back to our slopes for the rest of the winter, it felt very strange without you here.’
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said that a proposed law giving people the right to request remote working arrangements will mean employers are more likely to grant them for fear of being brought to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).
Mr Varadkar said he believes the legislation can “change the culture” and that employers will embrace it.
The general scheme of a Bill to provide for remote working will be brought to the Cabinet on Tuesday by Minister for Enterprise Mr Varadkar. It will set out a legal framework whereby an employer can either approve or reject a request to work remotely from an employee.
Under the plans – which Mr Varadkar hopes to have enacted in the next couple of months – there will be an independent appeals process through the WRC.
Speaking ahead of the publication of the outline of the legislation Mr Varadkar said it will require employers to take a request seriously, to respond within a defined timeframe and “to give a good reason that actually stacks up if they were challenged.”
He added: “It can change the culture and move the dial so that employers will be more likely to say yes for fear of being taken to the WRC or to court if they say no.”
Mr Varadkar predicted that “the vast majority of employers are going to embrace this.”
He added: “Everyone sees the benefits of home working/remote working – reduced traffic, reduced crowding in office spaces and also it’s very much an employees’ market at the moment.
“Employers are finding it really hard to hire staff and retain staff and it makes sense I think if you’re an employer or running a business to embrace new models of working because that’s how you’re going to get staff. It’s also how you’re going to keep staff.”
The Labour Party has argued that the Government’s plans will not go far enough with employment spokeswoman Senator Maire Sherlock saying the Government must guarantee the right to flexible work.
Mr Varadkar said the Bill won’t do this.
He said there was a lot of work done with the Attorney General and “Government can only interfere in contracts that employers and employees have signed to a certain extent.”
He also pointed out that remote working isn’t always going to be possible.
“It’s going to be very difficult to do in education, in healthcare, in manufacturing, hospitality for example.
“What we want to do is get to a position whereby remote working/home working becomes a choice and that employers facilitate that provided the business gets done and provided public services don’t suffer.”
Mr Varadkar said that Monday – the start of the phased return to workplaces – “is an important day as we learn to live with Covid, as we move from the emergency phase into a phase where we return to some semblance of normality.”
He said that the Government does not want things to go back to the old normal.
“We want to see more remote working, more home working, more hybrid working”.
Mr Varadkar said that there was a meeting of Government officials, unions and employer groups on Monday and it was agreed that there will be a new work safety protocol that will offer guidelines on the return to work over the coming weeks.
He said: “We’ll try to make permanent some of those things that were always a good idea in a work place such as good air quality to reduce the risk of the transmission of viruses, hygiene, avoiding overcrowding and that work is very much underway”.
He expects the updated protocol to be published by the end of the week.
Mr Varadkar was also asked about plans for an inquiry into the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and he said the Government have to discuss what form it will take.
He said no decision has been made on the model of the inquiry but “ it is important that we have one that allows us to learn the lessons.
“Relative to other countries Ireland handled the pandemic well – I think everyone acknowledges that when you look at the numbers.
“But we didn’t get everything right either and I think it’s important that we have an inquiry that is not about blaming people or pointing the finger but is about working out what we did right, what we wrong and what we could do better so that we’re prepared if there is a resurgence in the virus or if there is a pandemic caused for a different reason.”