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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...


Scotland 29 Wales 13: Scots dominate second half to beat Wales at last

February 25 2017

Scotland's astonishing second-half surge overwhelmed Wales at BT Murrayfield and brought their first win over the visitors for 10 years. The Scots scored 20 unanswered points in the second 40 minutes to turn around a 13-9 deficit in possibly the most complete performance under Vern Cotter's tenure as head coach. It was their first Six Nations win over the Welsh since 2007, and the final 10 minutes was a party for the 67,500 home crowd with their team having turned the match handsomely. Tries from Tommy Seymour and Tim Visser allowed the Scots to turn the game, but there were key defensive moments in there as well and Finn Russell's seven successful kicks from seven attempts meant the injured Greig Laidlaw placekicking was not missed. Visser provided the scoring pass for Seymour's try and finished off the second after a gorgeous delivery from Stuart Hogg, but try-saving tackles from Ali Price and Visser in the second half also helped change the course of the game, and Hamish Watson came off the bench to play a monumental defensive shift for an hour. A disjointed first half with both sides unwilling to move the ball wide much saw Wales snatch the only real try-scoring chance for a narrow half-time advantage. Huw Jones showed some fine footwork in the Welsh 22 in thsefirst six minutes which eventually led to a penalty kicked by Finn Russell, but Leigh Halfpenny replied after a half-break by Rhys Webb took the Welsh to the shadow of the Scottish posts. There was plenty of jockeying and not much entertainment until Wales seized their chance as their targeting of Visser with the high ball brought a scrum on the Scots 22. The home pack pushed too early and Webb took the quick tap, moving it through Biggar, Jon Davies and Halfbenny for Lee Williams to get outside Hogg for the try. Halfpenny converted and it looked like the Scots wree in trouble when the try-scorer and Webb combined to break inside the Scottish 22, but after the ball went loose over the line the TMO called the action back for obstruction early in the move by the Welsh scrum-half. That gave the Scots field position inside the Welsh 22 and a high tackle by Warburton on Price allowed Russell to peh Wales back to 10-6. Warburton made amends by forcing a holding on penalty on Ryan Wilso n which Halfpenny kicked, but the full-back missed a fairly simple chance within his range three minutes before the half. Instead the Scots came back with Hogg’s grubber kick, Seymour carrying on the move and Jones held just short of the line, and another penalty against Wales in their own 22 allowed Russell to kick his third penalty. But Scotland’s turnaround in the second half was dramatic and personified by the contribution of Visser. First the flying Dutchman won a high ball in the air and then showed up on the opposite wing as Jones made a fine dummy run, Visser’s pass putting Tommy Seymour in at the corner despite Scott Williams’ desperate tackle. Russell converted off the post – just – and then Scotland had cause to thank a brilliant cover tackle by Price to stop Jonathan Davies as he burst through. The young scrum-half then made a telling half-break after looking to be in trouble and Wales were penalised in their 22 again, Russell booting Scotland some breath space. Then Visser made a telling contribution in defence, his tackle on Webb into touch saving a certain try after the ball squirted out of a Scottish scrummage under pressure. And then the wing stamped Scotland’s victory in style, after a long series of phases and a Pyrgos break set up position. The Scots moved it wide at pace, Russell’s flat pass and Hogg’s beautiful delivery allowing Visser to nip in at the corner and behind the posts, the stand-off converting again. That put the Scots in comfort, and Wales disintegrated, conceding a silly penalty for crossing that Russell converted into another three points. Att: 67,500 Scotland: S Hogg; T Seymour, H Jones, A Dunbar, T Visser; F Russell, A Price; G Reid, F Brown, Z Fagerson; R Gray, J Gray; J Barclay (capt), J Hardie, R Wilson. Replacements: R Ford for Brown 71, A Dell for Reid 52, H Watson for Hardie 25, H Pyrgos for Price 55. Wales: L Halfpenny; G North, S Williams, J Davies, L Williams; D Biggar, R Webb; R Evans, K Owens, T Francis; J Ball, A W Jones; S Warburton, J Tipuric, R Moriarty. Replacements: S Baldwin for Owens 69, N Smith for Evans 69, S Lee for Francis 58, L Charteris for Ball 57, T Faletau for Moriarty 63, G Davies, S Davies for Biggar 69, J Roberts for S Williams 63. Ref: J Lacey (IRFU)

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km


Visser says Scotland must carry defensive passion into attack

March 19 2013

Scotland must learn to attack with the same ferocity as they defend if they are to establish themselves as contenders for next year’s RBS 6 Nations, according to winger Tim Visser. The Dutch-born adopted Scot finished the tournament as the Dark Blues’ joint top try scorer with two touchdowns, level with Sean Maitland and Stuart Hogg. The pacey Edinburgh back the RaboDirect Pro12’s joint all-time top finisher with 48 scores was called up for Scotland last summer by former boss Andy Robinson with a view to adding a potent threat to the side’s forward play. But it was his bravery and strength in the tackle that proved to be his most useful asset to the side, now led by caretaker coach Scott Johnson. Visser’s efforts at the back were matched by his team-mates for much of the tournament. The 12-8 win against an Ireland side that enjoyed a first-half possession count of almost 80% yet struggled to cross the whitewash was the clearest example of their resolute attitude. But Visser says this intensity must be replicated in attack if Scotland are to improve on their final third-placed ranking. “The strange thing about this campaign for us was that I spent more time defending than attacking, especially in the Ireland game. “If you looked at the stats they had all of the ball. It was unbelievable. But our defence has had to improve, and it has done. “If you look back to the autumn and where we are now, you can see all the work our defence coach Matt Taylor has done with the individuals and the team as a whole. “We are now a better defensive unit. In the autumn we would not have been able to handle a lot of the stuff that has been thrown at us. Now the next step is for us to keep hold of our own possession.” Despite impressive defensive displays, Scotland still wrapped up their Six Nations campaign with defeats to Wales and France. Having recorded their first set of back-to-back wins since 2001 by beating Italy and then Ireland, it was a disappointing end to what had looked to be a promising championships. The Scots’ 23-18 defeat in Paris was especially hard to take considering their 6-0 half-time lead and the impressive resistance they had put up to a series of determined assaults from Les Bleus. The one consolation was Visser’s late try, set up by a burst from Hogg. The winger was pleased he was able to carry out the orders handed to him by Johnson who has yet to confirm whether he will make his interim role at Murrayfield permanent. “Scoring is something that will always come through in my game. If somebody is near the try line I’ll be close in as well,” Visser said. “I’m always there when somebody is creating opportunities, and it’s important that aspect stays there. “It’s something I’ve always been confident of in my game and it’s something I can rely on. Scott Johnson said to me before that he expects me to finish things when I get the chance, and I showed against France that’s what I can do. “But it’s more about creating opportunities for us, and that’s a lot more important looking forward.”

Angus & The Mearns

Gingerbread tribute to the Wee Red Town

October 14 2013

When Libby Jones was invited by Bank Street Gallery owner Susie Clark to exhibit at her gallery in Kirriemuir, she became intrigued by the history of the town. As well as Kirriemuir’s most famous son and Peter Pan author JM Barrie, she discovered the town had also been home for a time to AC/DC singer Bon Scott, Victorian mountaineer Hugh Munro, and 19th century writer Violet Jacob. She found the town had been a hotbed of witchcraft in the 16th century and is also world famous for its gingerbread and decided to combine all these elements. Ms Jones went on to craft a boxed set of prints, which also doubles as a card game. She said: “This tongue-in-cheek edition of 10 boxes, of 20 cards per box, features Kirriemuir characters presented on a slice of gingerbread on a plate. I have also made a poster featuring all the 10 characters in the game.” Visitors can see images of Edinburgh Castle with fireworks, wildlife such as gannets, and artwork made after a visit to Antarctica. Londoner and master printmaker Ms Jones exhibited work from her sub-zero stay at a Discovery Point exhibition in Dundee last year. Children can see her work Cooking the Climate, a comment on global warming, which consists of a microwave oven and slideshow with rotating polar animals. There is also a fossilised mobile phone in a second installation, Fossils of the Anthropocene an exploration of the traces that might remain of civilisation in 50 million years’ time. She is also exhibiting a selection of her woodcuts, linocuts, collagraphs and screenprints at the gallery. The exhibition runs until November 8 and opening hours can be found on www.bankstreetgallery.org, or by telephoning 01575 570070.


Visser off to Harlequins at season’s end

March 30 2015

Edinburgh’s star wing Tom Visser, four times the leading try-scorer in the Guinness PRO12, is quitting the capital club to join London’s Harlequins next season. The Dutchman, who qualified to play for Scotland during his six years at Edinburgh, scored 66 tries in 122 appearances for the club. His departure had been long rumoured this season as his current three-year deal came to an end, and the player had been clearly frustrated with the lack of try-scoring opportunities due to Edinburgh’s more pragmatic style of play under Alan Solomons. Visser’s double to help Edinburgh win the 1872 Cup against Glasgow in January doubled his try-count for the season as the capital side have started to play a more open game with some success, but he’ll now move back to the Aviva Premiership, where he came to Edinburgh in 2009 from Newcastle Falcons. He said: “My career at Edinburgh has been great. I came up from Newcastle as a youngster the opportunity came through then coach Rob Moffat and I’ve learnt so much working with a number of coaches since then. “I’ve given so much of my career to Edinburgh and the club has provided so much in return the opportunity to play for Scotland would never have come about, for a start and it’s been a difficult decision to move on.” Visser’s father Marc played 67 times for the Netherland and the 6ft 4 in youngster was spotted in the Amsterdam 7s and signed by Newcastle, scoring on his AP debut against Worcester in 2006. Three years later he moved to Edinburgh and was an immediate hit, winning the PRO12 try-scoring crown in his first season and being named the league’s Young Player of the Year. He led the league in try-scoring a further three times and won the PRO12 Player of the Season award in 2011/12, the year Edinburgh reached the semi-finals of the Heineken Cup. That summer he became eligible to play for Scotland through the three-year residency rule and marked his international debut, against Fiji in Lautoka, with two tries. He has seven tries in 18 international appearances for his adopted country. The international debut, the run to the European semis and the trecent 1872 Cup win were the highlights of his career, he said. “I’m really grateful for their encouragement and for the supporters to accept me as one of their own,” he continued. “A lot of people I started with have moved on over time that naturally happens at any club but I’ll particularly miss the likes of Roddy Grant and Ross Ford who are still here. “I’ll miss Edinburgh as a city you take for granted how great a place it is to live. It has a ‘villagey’ feel and I think that will be hard to replicate.”

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.


Visser says Scots can break Twickenham bogey and target a Triple Crown

February 26 2017

Tim Visser has seen Scotland break three of their most nagging losing streaks in a year and sees no reason why the biggest of all shouldn’t go the same way in a fortnight. Scotland haven’t won at Twickenham since 1983 – before any of the current squad were born – but will go into a Triple Crown match with the Grand Slam champions with growing confidence after the 29-13 victory over Wales. Visser has a pivotal role in the second half on Saturday with a try, an assist and a try-saving tackle as the Scots surged to victory with 20 unanswered points, beating the Welsh for the first time in ten years. Just over a year ago he scored as Scotland beat France for the first time in a decade and of course the Scots won their opening match of the championship against Ireland for the first time in 11 years, a sign that the old obstacles are falling one by one. But England at Twickenham? Why not, reckons the prolific Harlequin wing. “Anything is possible,” said Visser. “You’ve seen that with this win, we won our first game in the championship for the first time in a while and we beat France last year. “England will be another step up for us. We will take the positives from this – but also really analyse that first half today, we can’t allow ourselves to get into that position again in the next game. “Beating England at Twickenham would be the best result I’ve ever been involved in, but we’re not getting ahead of ourselves. “We’re not the finished article, by any means. England are formidable and have been for the past couple of years. “But of course we believe we can win at Twickenham. Just look at the evidence and what we’ve done in the last couple of years.” Visser thought that the most important aspect of his best performance for Scotland was not his involvement in the tries or the tackle of Rhys Webb inbetween them that preserved Scotland’s lead in the second half but his play under the high ball. “It’s something I’ve worked on a lot at Quins,” he said. “I’ve been getting my reward at club level, so it’s great to take that on to the international stage and claim the ball back for the team. “It’s so important. It’s something that Tommy Seymour has done for a year or two now. It used to be a weak part of my game. It’s good to see results from the hours of work I get working with anyone I can find after training.” Visser also paid tribute ot the contribution of Stuart Hogg in both tries. “We know he can do special things, we saw that last year against France, with that wonderful pass over his head to me,” he pointed out. “A lot of times he doesn’t pass! But I called him to make that one for my try and it’s important to try to anticipate him. “Hoggy called the set move for the first try. We hadn’t got the ball wide in the first half and we wanted to try something different. Huw (Jones) ran the perfect short line and all I had to do was get round the back and find Tommy.” The scots squad noiw feel they want to provide something more for Vern Cotter before he moevs on at the end of the campaign. “I think, for us as a team, we are building on the performances we’ve had under Vern over the last couple of years,” he continued. “We knew this kind of form was coming. As players, we believe in ourselves and we do believe we can do special things for Scotland. “The fact that Vern is leaving has really put a date on the end of this era. We’re trying to leave him with as much as we can.” Meanwhile the Scots suffered another injury blow with John Hardie out of the championship with a medial ACL injury. The back rower came off after 25 minutes but replacement Hamish Watson had a storming game in his place. The Scots’ options do look to be improving with the second bye week, Duncan Taylor playing a full 80 minutes for Saracens at the weekend and David Denton also continuing his comeback from injury for Bath.