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CJ Stander bids farewell to Ireland doing what he does best

Voice Of EU



CJ Stander’s Ireland career ended with his shoulder to the wheel. Arched over a breakdown. Holding firm.

The tears flooded when everyone lined up to embrace the burly Munster man with a South African lilt. Not tall enough for the Springboks, that twist of faith guided a farmer’s son to Limerick where he forced all comers to put some respect on his name.

Fifty-one times. The only shame is it cannot be 60 or 70 caps, but Stander leaves a legacy, with all the spectacular Irish wins in the modern era listed on his jacket. Think about Soldier Field, Chicago and CJ appears with a grit that made goliaths like Kieran Read check their stride. He became a peer to the best 8-men in the game.

Jack Conan did everything in his considerable power to spoil this tribute. Stander’s last international in Dublin saw him revert to the more industrious blindside flank as Conan sprung from obscurity to salvage Ireland’s worryingly uncertain campaign.

If anyone should feel robbed of Irish caps during Stander’s unbreakable five seasons in green, it would be Conan. The Bray backrow has seen the promise of residency in the national side stymied by injuries. But mostly by CJ.

Caelan Doris passed them both before concussion slowed the Blackrock prodigy’s rise. Stander was expected to fill the gap until Ireland coach Andy Farrell appeared to spin the bottle with Conan returning to the team. But the Irish coaches earned their coin with structured attacks straight off the Blanchardstown training paddock leaving England reeling as Conan’s delicate fingertips and clever dive helped construct a 20-6 interval lead.

“Imagine that score running off at half-time, this place would have erupted” said Stander, choking up. “I just wish my family could be here, especially my wife and daughter.”

The Keith Earls try was everything people tracking the 33-year-old flyer’s storied career had been hoping to see, once again. It was a twist on the over the top lineout throw that allowed France to shred the English defence last week at Twickenham. This time Rob Herring found a soaring Conan, whose fadeaway jump shot in NBA parlance, did what the Mike Catt offence had failed to do until that moment: unleash Earls in open country. Jonny May – who could have sprinted professionally – was stuck in the mud by the winger’s tip toe finish.

CJ Stander is tackled by Tom Curry. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho
CJ Stander is tackled by Tom Curry. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Owen Farrell responded with a long range penalty but from the restart Tadhg Beirne wrapped up Maro Itoje in a reversal of the usual torture. With Johnny Sexton’s boot like an assassin’s blade, Hugo Keenan catching lobs like a baseball pro and Robbie Henshaw puncturing the silence with the performance of his lifetime, CJ was plain old ultra-aggressive CJ; hurting people and smiling when they attempted to hurt him back.

England were anything but themselves, although this increases the growing narrative of a split personality under Eddie Jones. Mako Vunipola had to be Sheppard-hooked at the break, and not down to Tadhg Furlong’s dominance, but Mathieu Raynal’s consistent interpretation of a loosehead illegally boring in the scrum.

Ireland led 13-6 when Stander sprang to life with a carry into Tom Curry – the English openside obliterated him – before a rumble into Billy Vunipola – again, slammed to ground – and he even gathered a Furlong offload only to be hammered onto the grass for a third time in 90 seconds.

CJ smirked as the pain could only be electrifying his block of cement frame. All this punishment laid a foundation for The Catt Offensive to produce enough running to fracture England long enough for Conan to sneak over the whitewash.

As expected, straight after half-time, the kitchen sink was flung at Ireland. For all the xenophobia swirling around Stander’s introduction and continued selection for Ireland, nobody who has ever worn a green jersey would live to tell the tale of a full frontal collision with Billy Vunipola, Curry and Ellis Genge.

CJ laughed his head off. Then he collared Elliot Daly on the outside. He also bumped Mark Wilson before an unforgettable moment when combining with Beirne to snaffle the ball off an English pack which bested their smaller Irish counterparts on four bruising occasions since February 2019.


Something stirred in the Ireland team on this Saturday afternoon. All the while Owen Farrell’s captaincy continued its downward spiral. The Wooden Crown belongs to England for 2021. Farrell’s inability to strike a workable relationship with Raynal reached its zenith when the neutral doctor insisted that he depart for a Head Injury Assessment. Farrell claimed a stinger. He did not return.

Stander wipes away tears at the end of the match. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Stander wipes away tears at the end of the match. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

This type of scalping, from an Irish team pumped and calm in equal measure, forcing the English juggernaut down corridors that trapped their oversized bodies, happens every half decade or so. Rachael Blackmore’s Cheltenham superiority should have been a warning or that cracking yarn in The Daily Telegraph about Max Malins’ family ties to the Irish Republican Brotherhood, but you never really see this coming.

Such rare days cannot happen without a coaching ticket providing a clear strategy that links into an intensity that can only be created by the sight of the red rose. Unless you are CJ Stander, and this energy flow is how you have lived a fascinating life for a boy from a dairy and vegetable farm on the Western Cape, who hoped to become a Springbok but ended up being the most beloved foreigner to grace Thomond Park.

“He is the most kind-hearted genuine bloke you are ever likely to meet,” said Andy Farrell. “He has given his heart and soul to the jersey, the green one and the red one. He has the chance to play in a cup final for Munster next week.”

There’s a few more weeks in this short goodbye with Stander fully aware that Gavin Coombes needs a platform to do to Leinster what Conan just did to England.

The post-Stander era in Irish rugby will see everyone doing just fine without him but that is down to the standard set by his guaranteed ferocity. Coombes, Doris and Conan know exactly what’s expected when they wear number eight.

“I am forever grateful,” said Stander, his voice cracking. “Dreams do come through.”

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Barings and HBD secure planning for London logistics scheme (GB)

Voice Of EU



Barings and HBD have secured detailed planning for a strategic logistics scheme in Rainham, London, transforming a 20-acre brownfield site. The new development, Momentum London, is being delivered by Barings and HBD in a joint venture partnership. It will create 381,814ft² of new logistics and industrial space across four units ranging from 41,000 -171,000ft².


The scheme will target Net Zero Carbon, BREEAM “Excellent” and an EPC “A+” rating. This is being achieved by dynamic design, careful consideration of materials, zero use of fossil fuels, maximizing photovoltaic solar panels, battery storage and intelligent building systems. The units will be 100% EV ready, including passive fleet charging to the yards.


The logistics park will be set in landscaped environment with picnic and public areas, as well as direct access onto the Thames Cycle Path, so that it brings further social benefits to the area. Positioned on the River Thames, with potential for jetty access, Momentum will offer an easy stepping stone into Central London and out via the A13, just minutes away.


Darren Hutchinson, Head of UK Real Estate Transactions and Managing Director at Barings, said: Momentum London will be a strategically located logistics scheme with strong environmental and social credentials, beneficial both to future occupiers and the communities around it. Logistics is one of Barings’ preferred investment sectors and Momentum London exemplifies the kind of developments we’re seeking, with a keen interest in exploring joint ventures like this one with HBD.”


Simon Quine, Senior Development Surveyor at HBD, said: “Industrial and logistics space remains in very limited supply across London, particularly larger distribution units. Momentum will plug that gap within the M25 and provide modern, sustainable logistics and distribution space to serve London and the wider South East market. Landscaping and wellness have been thoroughly considered, with careful design considerations and enhancements to the Thames Foot and Cycle path, which we hope will help occupiers to attract and retain staff.”

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Mirrored furniture trend can create the illusion of space in your home

Voice Of EU



Mirrored furniture provokes strong emotions. Some see it as the epitome of bad taste, flashy and bling. Others know that mirrors have magic powers.

A mirrored table or cabinet makes a room or a hallway appear more swish and spacious. It’s a trick that bars and restaurants employ to ensure their establishments appear roomier and more inviting — and they can add lustre to your home, too.

Choosing a piece of mirrored furniture also sends out a sign that you are aware of one of the year’s trends — the return of Art Deco, the influential style that emerged in the 1920s. 

Reflections: A mirrored bedside table. The power of the mirror to create an impression has been recognised for centuries

Reflections: A mirrored bedside table. The power of the mirror to create an impression has been recognised for centuries

It blended forms that celebrated modern machinery with decorative elements drawn from Greco-Roman culture and nature. 

The mirror was a favourite material, used on the surfaces of furniture and walls to supply a shimmering silver and gold effect.

Probably the most famous piece of Art Deco architecture is New York’s Chrysler Building. Completed in 1930, its sunburst-patterned stainless steel spire remains one of the key elements of the Manhattan skyline.

Art Deco console tables, drinks trolleys and other items from the era of the building’s construction sell for thousands on auction sites such as 1stdibs underlining the growing appeal of this aesthetic. 

Jamie Watkins, the co-founder of fabric and wallpaper company Divine Savages, explains Art Deco’s allure for a new audience.

‘Art Deco, with its bold geometrical patterns was such an iconic period for design: it’s synonymous with glamour and luxury.’

The resurgent popularity of Art Deco is also based on its practicality: a mirrored piece works with almost any interior, adding interest and depth.

The power of the mirror to create a wow impression has been recognised for centuries. 

Examples of this technique include the round mirror on the wall behind the bride and groom in Jan van Eyck’s 1434 Arnolfini Portrait in the National Gallery. It sends out the message that the couple are discerning — and wealthy.

Cheers: B&M's £25 oval drinks trolley with two mirrored shelves

Cheers: B&M’s £25 oval drinks trolley with two mirrored shelves

The hall of mirrors in the palace of Versailles was designed to be a place of beauty, but also to display the financial resources of Louis XIV, the Sun King. Mirrors were a luxury item until an inexpensive manufacturing process was invented in the 1830s.

In 2022, it is possible to pick up mirrored pieces for under £100. B&M has a £25 oval drinks trolley with two mirrored shelves that would lend an air of Thirties elegance to any gathering. The £94.99 Ellison serving cart (a U.S. term for drinks trolley) from Wayfair has a similar vibe.

If you believe that the right mirrored trolley would save you money on trips to bars, the larger £144.95 gold oval mirrored trolley from Melody Maison could be the thing.

A mirrored cocktail cabinet will dazzle guests. The £1,200 Primrose & Plum champagne and gold cabinet has a Jazz-Age feel.

The £299 Venetian sideboard from Furniture Market, meanwhile, is a more modestly priced way to conjure up the party spirit of the Roaring Twenties.

The show flats of apartment blocks are often equipped with mirrored cocktail cabinets containing bottles of spirits and crystal glasses. This makes buyers dream of dinner parties, with a prelude of aperitifs, but also serves to make the apartment appear even roomier.

A console table in the hall also creates an illusion of space which can be amplified by the addition of a lamp. HomesDirect365 has a range in the style of almost every era including Art Deco, Regency, the 1960s and the 1970s. Prices start at £233.

The bedroom is often the most cramped room in either a house or flat which is why this can be the best place to experiment with mirrored furniture. 

The desire to preserve family harmony is another reason. The other members of your household may prefer the kitchen and living room to be slick and understated, seeing anything mirrored as excessive.

In the bedroom, however, you can indulge your decor fantasies. Habitat has the one-drawer Hepburn bedside table for £76.

Next offers the antique effect Fleur bedside table which costs £225 for the one-drawer version and £275 for the two-drawer version. 

The Fleur is also available as a six-drawer chest for £599 or a £1,150 double wardrobe if you seek to waft around your bedroom channelling your inner 1930s Hollywood screen siren. 

Dunelm’s Venetian mirrored dressing table also offers a chance to live out your dream of silver screen stardom (£449).

If mirrored furniture has brought out your party animal, kindling a passion for Art Deco in every guise, Divine Savages offers Deco Martini wallpaper whose design is based on the geometric forms, with a hidden Martini glass within the print (£150 per roll).

Some of your guests may not be too busy checking out their reflections on the doors of the mirrored cabinet to notice this subtle and witty detail in the wallpaper.

Savings of the week! water jugs… Up to 52% off 

The Sandvig hammered-glass jug from is half-price at £22

The Sandvig hammered-glass jug from is half-price at £22

Sitting outside on a sunny afternoon is already delightful. But it is even more enjoyable if you are sipping on a cool drink or an iced coffee from a generously sized jug, or maybe even a Pimm’s. The arrival of the July sales means bargains abound.

If you prioritise practicality, Ocado’s textured lustre plastic picnic jug has 33 per cent off at £8.

The price of the pleasingly geometric plastic smoky-grey Prism jug from Wayfair is 16 per cent off at £10.10. 

If you would like to feel as if you are in the south of France, John Lewis has the plain glass Arles wicker-wrapped jug. It is reduced from £25 to £12, down 52 per cent.

Wanting something more elegant that you can also use for flowers? The Sandvig hammered-glass jug from is also half-price at £22.

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VGP acquires French logistics development

Voice Of EU




VGP NV and VALGO signed an agreement to purchase 32 hectares of land that housed the former Petroplus refining units in Petit-Couronne, near Rouen. This brownfield rehabilitation project is fully in line with VGP’s core expertise and strategy. Thanks to the six years ownership of the site by VALGO and its expertise in asbestos removal, soil and water table decontamination, in-situ waste treatment and development, this area has now become a suitable site for the development of new industries and business activities.


On the banks of the river Seine and close to the A13 highway, the 32-hectare area of land offers its future users a highly strategic location. Following the extensive depollution work carried out by VALGO, the site is now ready for redevelopment. VGP expanded into France only a few months ago and is delighted to start its French business activities in the dynamic Rouen Normandy metropolis area, via this major project. In total, around 150,000m² of land are set to be redeveloped to accommodate industrial and logistics projects, with work due to begin in 2023.


Jan Van Geet, CEO VGP, said: “VGP is delighted to begin its business activities in France on a site as exceptional as this one, with strong economic and environmental ambitions that are shared by both our partner, VALGO, and the local authorities. As the rehabilitation of brownfield sites is at the heart of our business, this project is a great opportunity for us to deploy our industrial and logistical know-how. The uncertain geopolitical situation and the rise in transport prices mean that companies are increasingly looking for local support to start their business. In this context, we strongly believe in the relevance of our integrated model with a long-term vision. We are now eager to get to work and bring all the expertise of the Group to the project.”


Francois Bouche, CEO VALGO, commented: “We are delighted that this huge piece of land has been sold to a major investor with experience in redeveloping brownfields in Europe. However, I would first like to celebrate the work of the men and women who worked so hard to make this colossal project a success. It took more than 1 million hours and over €60m in investment by VALGO to turn the page on over 80 years of refining on this site, which already employs 600 people.”

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