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Durban July 2021 fashion programme takes flight

May 13th 2021 at 12:08

As the frenzy of Champions’ Season horseracing starts to grip the racing fraternity, fashion lovers have set their sights on the programme of competitions and shows planned for the 2021 Vodacom Durban July.

Fashion has always been an essential element of Africa’s Greatest Horseracing Event, and as the event paved the way for behind-closed-doors events last year, so too did the fashion programme adapt to comply with the prevailing lockdown regulations.

Durban July fashion programme takes flight

The 2021 fashion programme builds on the successes of the 2020 adaptations, and takes flight in the first weekend of June with the start of the important Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award, presented by Durban Fashion Fair.

Open to students at technikons and fashion design colleges across KwaZulu-Natal, the first round of judging at Hollywoodbets Greyville Racecourse on Monday 7 June will require students to present their completed outfit inspired by the raceday theme “Birds of a Feather”.

Arguably the most onerous judging task of the entire fashion programme, the judges will shortlist around twenty semi-finalists to proceed to the next stage of the competition, which has over the year’s discovered many designers who have gone on to become household names in South African couture circles.

In the same vein, Durban Fashion Fair, established as a incubator for fashion design talent in the region, will profile eight emerging fashion designers, each of whom will be tasked with designing garments based on their interpretation of the theme for a range labelled the ‘DFF Rising Stars Collection’.

Always regarded as the high point of the fashion programme, the Vodacom Durban July Invited Designer Showcase this year will spotlight five iconic national designers from across the country, tasked with an unfettered role of designing a raceday ensemble based on the “Birds of a Feather” theme.

Fundamentally a non-competitive showcase event, this year’s spectacle will be driven online as the fashion programme complies with lockdown regulations, with live video and studio images set to satisfy the driving curiosity amongst fashionistas following the Invited Designer Showcase each year.

As was the case at last year’s behind-closed-doors Vodacom Durban July, the traditional raceday fashion competitions will fall away, but fashion fans proved in 2020 that their plans to watch the raceday spectacle at home was a lavishly glamorous affair, and much of the fashion programme content will be timed to contribute to that spectacle on the day of the big race.

No matter what the state of the lockdown in June and July, designers are determined to use their skills to give the nation a sensory thrill to tide them through the hard times.

“Fashion is optimistic, uplifting and hopeful, and gives people something to look forward to and dream about,” said Cape designer Lara Klawikowski, who rose to prominence through winning the Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award in 2009.

“Beautiful clothing is a pick-me-up in tough times,” she added.

The 2021 Vodacom Durban July takes place at Hollywoodbets Greyville Racecourse on Saturday 3 July. More information can be found at 

Issed by Gameplan Media, written by Dave Macleod

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Last gasp try sees Reds beat Brumbies in Super Rugby AU final

May 8th 2021 at 08:56

James O’Connor snatched a try after the buzzer against the ACT Brumbies as the Queensland Reds toppled the defending champions 19-16 in a frantic finish to the Super Rugby AU final Saturday.

Brad Thorn’s men have been the standout team this year, winning seven of eight games ahead of the decider, and they didn’t disappoint a bumper 42,000-strong crowd in a pulsating game at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.

They went to the break 13-6 down but came back in emphatic fashion, with O’Connor crossing in the 84th minute then converting after a sustained period of pressure with two Brumbies players yellow-carded in the final few minutes.

Reds are Super Rugby AU champs

It was only their second Super Rugby title. Their first came in 2011, when the competition also featured top teams from New Zealand and South Africa.

“It was a tough contest, it always is against the Brumbies. That was like a Test match,” said skipper O’Connor, who scored all 19 points.

“Super proud of my boys, they came home strong. We started a little bit slow, but we got there.”

It was the third match in a row against the Brumbies in which they had been down at half time and rallied to win.

“I want to congratulate the Reds, not only on tonight but a great season,” said Brumbies captain Allan Alaalatoa, whose side made the final after six wins from eight this season.

“I said to my boys, you’ve got to be proud of that effort.”

The Reds narrowly lost last year’s final to the Brumbies 28-23 and admitted before the game they were still smarting. 

But it was all the Canberra team in the first half.

O’Connor nailed an early penalty to get the scoreboard ticking over in a fast and furious opening 10 minutes that the visitors dominated.

Their pressure paid off when Tom Banks crossed for the opening try after a deft offload from Noah Lolesio, who converted to put them 7-3 in front.

The Brumbies had all the possession and territory, but against the run of play O’Connor’s boot pulled the Reds back to within a point.

But the mini comeback didn’t last, with two more Lolesio penalties stretching the Brumbies advantage to 13-6 at half-time.

Wallaby winger Jordan Petaia was unfortunate to have a try disallowed soon after the restart as the Reds started fast.

But O’Connor bagged a third penalty to keep them in touch and then a fourth to take them within a point at 12-13 with 16 minutes left.

A composed Lolesio eased the pressure with his third successful penalty to restore a four point advantage going into the final 10 minutes, before two yellow cards for the Brumbies.

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Verstappen shades Hamilton in Barcelona final practice

May 8th 2021 at 08:31

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finally got the better of the men from Mercedes at the third attempt in practice when clocking the fastest lap in Saturday’s closing session for the Spanish Grand Prix.

Verstappen shades Hamilton

Eclipsed by Valtteri Bottas in the first session and Lewis Hamilton in the second, Verstappen rose to the top of the times ahead of what promises to be an evenly contested qualifying session.

The Dutch driver, eight points adrift of Hamilton in the drivers’ standings, was 0.235sec too quick for the seven-time world champion, with Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz and Bottas completing the top five.

With less than a second separating Verstappen from Esteban Ocon’s Alpine in 13th place the fight for the top of the grid for Sunday’s race should be intense.

Hamilton has strong ties with this race, having won it for the past four years, and five in total, and is in pursuit of his 100th pole after being denied that milestone by his teammate Bottas in Portugal last week.

Qualifying gets under way at 15:00 SAST.

The importance of a prime front row seat on Sunday at a circuit not known for its abundance of overtaking opportunities is borne out by past results — 22 of the past 30 winners have occupied pole position.

Third practice session times:

Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull-Honda) 1:17.835 (11 laps), Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 1:18.070 (14), Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari) 1:18.308 (17), Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP/Ferrari) 1:18.410 (18), Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Mercedes) 1:18.423 (15), Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes) 1:18.494 (14), Pierre Gasly (FRA/AlphaTauri-Honda) 1:18.535 (17), Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/McLaren-Mercedes) 1:18.582 (21), Kimi Räikkönen (FIN/Alfa Romeo-Ferrari) 1:18.597 (18), Sergio Pérez (MEX/Red Bull-Honda) 1:18.606 (16), Fernando Alonso (ESP/Alpine-Renault) 1:18.662 (18), Yuki Tsunoda (JPN/AlphaTauri-Honda) 1:18.673 (21), Esteban Ocon (FRA/Alpine-Renault) 1:18.700 (15), Lance Stroll (CAN/Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1:18.877 (18), George Russell (GBR/Williams-Mercedes) 1:19.005 (17), Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA/Alfa Romeo-Ferrari) 1:19.214 (19), Sebastian Vettel (GER/Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1:19.363 (18), Nicholas Latifi (CAN/Williams-Mercedes) 1:19.392 (16), Mick Schumacher (GER/Haas-Ferrari) 1:19.999 (17), Nikita Mazepin (RUS/Haas-Ferrari) 1:20.237 (15), 

Richie Mo’unga sparkles as Crusaders claim Super Rugby Aotearoa crown

May 8th 2021 at 07:16

A Richie Mo’unga masterclass saw the Canterbury Crusaders overcome two yellow cards to defend their Super Rugby Aotearoa crown with a 24-13 victory over the Waikato Chiefs in Christchurch on Saturday.

For a period in the second half when the Crusaders were defending a narrow 15-13 lead, they were down to 13 men, with All Blacks Codie Taylor and Sevu Reece in the sin-bin. 

Crusaders claim New Zealand Super crown

But flyhalf Mo’unga, whose footwork had baffled the Chiefs through much of the match, refused to be flustered as he produced raking touch finders to force them back and extended the scoreline with a drop goal and a penalty.

By the time the Crusaders were back to a full complement of 15 they were 21-13 ahead with 12 minutes to play and Mo’unga added a further penalty to settle the score.

“I was as nervous as I’ve ever been in the box, it was very tight,” said coach Scott Robertson as his Crusaders produced their fifth consecutive Super title under his reign.

“Thirteen men, they (the Chiefs) had all the momentum, they were winning the air battles, we just couldn’t get territory and we had a couple of big scrums, a couple of really big moments and Richie Mo’unga.”

Captain Scott Barrett described the victory as “awesome” and credited the defence for shutting out the Chiefs.

“This group of boys don’t need much  motivation. They’re so driven and keep striving to be better. Richie and the backs put us in the right area of the field and we let our defence do the rest,” he said.

In a clash of Test match intensity before a sold-out crowd of 17,400, Mo’unga scored 14 of the Crusaders’ points, while Damian McKenzie was the sole scorer for the Chiefs.

It is the Crusaders’ second crown in two seasons of the New Zealand competition, to go with their 10 titles in 24 years in the multi-national tournament.

For the Chiefs it was a disappointing end to what had been a stunning turn-around to make the final after losing their first two matches and captain Brad Weber said he had dreamed of claiming the title.

Mo’unga “is the linchpin of that team and he’s been in outstanding form all year and obviously I’m devastated,” Weber said.

“We threw everything at it and just weren’t good enough. The Crusaders were incredibly clinical, even with guys in the bin, and their set piece was too good.”

An intercept by Ethan Blackadder rescued the Crusaders when they were defending desperately and sparked a counter attack which paved the way for the Crusaders’ first try by Reece six minutes into the game.

After a McKenzie penalty for the Chiefs, a David Havili chip kick produced their second try to Will Jordan. 

The Chiefs were down 12-3 when McKenzie scored from an innovative lineout drive which most of the backs joined before the ball went wide for the elusive fullback to score in the opposite corner.

A McKenzie penalty after 59 minutes narrowed the gap to two points before Mo’unga’s boot wrapped up the game for the Crusaders.

© Agence France-Presse

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