Super Rugby 2021 results, scores: Brumbies vs Waratahs, Rob Penney, Mack Hansen, Noah Lolesio, reaction


Winger Mack Hansen bagged a hat-trick as a relentless ACT Brumbies thumped the New South Wales Waratahs 61-10 Saturday — their most points ever scored against the struggling Sydney side.

The defending Super Rugby AU champions were a class above Rob Penney’s inexperienced team at a fortress GIO Stadium in Canberra, powering over for nine tries with Noah Lolesio and Ryan Lonergan sharing eight conversions.

Their trademark lineout setpiece and attacking flair did the damage as they won the physical battle and repeatedly exposed the visitors’ defensive frailties.

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Tepai Moeroa of the Waratahs looks dejected after the loss. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Tepai Moeroa of the Waratahs looks dejected after the loss. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images



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Sun Yang doping ban overturned, China swimmer Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing, Franco Frattini, Mack Horton, drug cheat, WADA


Sun Yang’s eight-year doping ban has been spectacularly overturned on appeal.

In a decision that will rock swimming – in particular in Australia where the Chinese freestyle champion has become a villain – Sun has won the right to have his case reheard before next year’s Olympics.

The 29-year-old successfully challenged the neutrality of one of the members of the panel that effectively ended his professional career at a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing in February.

The World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA), which had fought to ban Sun from swimming after he twice drew the ire of doping officials, responded to the latest decision by welcoming the opportunity to present its case against Sun again.

It noted: “The Swiss Federal Tribunal’s decision upholds a challenge against the chair of the CAS Panel and makes no comment on the substance of this case.”

Franco Frattini, the former Italian foreign minister, appears to have been the subject of Sun’s appeal.

Reports in China had highlighted his perceived unprofessional manner in what was at times a circus of a hearing.

Frattini was heard making a joke about Sun Yang’s mother when she was called to give evidence, saying “A very strong witness, ha ha”.

But he also appears to have been exposed by a number of comments on social media that included anti-Chinese sentiment.

They included Twitter posts from 2018 and 2019 where he expressed his disdain for animal cruelty in China.

“This yellow face chinese monster smiling while torturing a small dog, deserves the worst of the hell!!! Shame on China, pretending to be a superpower and tolerating these horrors!” he wrote in May last year.

While a tweet from 2018 said: “Hell forever for those bastard sadic chinese who brutally killed dogs and cats in Yulin, with the complicity of the chinese authorities.”

Sun, who won the 400m and 1500m freestyle in London and the 200m in Rio, first served a doping suspension in 2014 after testing positive to a drug he said he was using to treat heart palpitations and was unaware had recently been added to the banned list.

Australian swimmer Mack Horton spoke out against Sun at the Rio Olympics and his protest appeared to be validated when his rival was accused of refusing to provide blood and urine samples when drug testers visited his home in China in September, 2018.

In February, The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) handed down an eight-year ban for “manipulation” of an anti-doping test sample, effectively ending the Chinese star’s professional career.

Sun’s CAS hearing, the first in 20 years that was open to the public, was beset by technical difficulties and interpreting errors between Chinese and English which frustrated lawyers and held up proceedings.

Sun’s lawyers lodged an appeal last month, challenging the technical and procedural grounds of the verdict, which WADA confirmed was successful.

“The World Anti-Doping Agency has been informed of the decision of the Swiss Federal Tribunal to uphold the revision application filed by Chinese swimmer Sun Yang and to set aside the 20 February 2020 award of a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) Panel,” it said in a statement.

“The case is in relation to WADA’s successful appeal against the original Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) disciplinary panel decision following an incident that led to a doping control involving Sun Yang not being completed as planned.

“The Swiss Federal Tribunal’s decision upholds a challenge against the Chair of the CAS Panel and makes no comment on the substance of this case.

“WADA will take steps to present its case robustly again when the matter returns to the CAS Panel, which will be chaired by a different president.

“At this stage, WADA has not received the Tribunal’s full reasoned decision and therefore cannot comment further.”

The decision means Sun is free to resume swimming until his case is heard by a different CAS panel.

ABC reporter Bill Birltes tweeted: “Yet another twist in the years-long Sun Yang saga – his 8 year ban overturned due to claims of racism among a member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport … but he hasn’t been cleared. He’ll have to face a new panel all over again to decide his fate.”



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Mack Mason’s Waratahs career all but over as life after Beale takes shape


“When news came out he’s signed in France, there was always the possibility it would become too difficult for him to contribute to us. It’s been a really sad loss for us. It just became apparent it was the right thing to do. We’ve had a good send-off for him.”

In a media release, Beale said it was “bittersweet” to be leaving NSW. Australian director of rugby Scott Johnson said the 31-year-old could still be on the Wallabies’ radar given he has passed the 60-Test threshold for overseas-based players.

Johnson’s statement is in sharp contrast to new Wallabies coach Dave Rennie’s tone on Monday.

He remains eligible for the Wallabies and if his form warrants it he will certainly come into calculations for selection.

Scott Johnson on Kurtley Beale

Rennie left Beale out of a players-of-interest squad this year and said he was not keen on picking players at French clubs for national duty.

“He remains eligible for the Wallabies and if his form warrants it he will certainly come into calculations for selection,” Johnson said.

Penney said Jack Maddocks would likely have first crack at fullback for the Waratahs’ clash next Friday against the Queensland Reds.

However, Mason, the one NSW player who has been based in Queensland during COVID-19, won’t be eligible.

Mack Mason was included in a Wallabies training camp in 2017.

Mack Mason was included in a Wallabies training camp in 2017.

Mason, 24, went about his business in Foley’s shadow for years. It was thought this season would be his chance to make the Waratahs’ No.10 jersey his own, having had sporadic opportunities in recent years.

Mason debuted in 2017 after receiving a late call-up against the Crusaders. A few months later he trotted around in Melbourne as part of an extended Wallabies squad.

Even at the beginning of this year, Mason was the frontrunner to take over from Foley at five-eighth.

He started in January’s trial against the Highlanders but injured his groin in another practice game against the Reds off the bench.

Now he is nowhere to be seen and without a contract for next year, after being leapfrogged by Randwick duo Will Harrison and Ben Donaldson in the pecking order.

The Waratahs say Mason was granted permission to explore employment opportunities on the farm back home in Queensland while continuing a strength and conditioning program from afar. He is still contracted until November but hasn’t been called back to Sydney to train with the main squad.

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It appears very unlikely the Waratahs will offer Mason a new deal.

Mason started twice in 2019, once in a 31-30 loss to the Sunwolves in Newcastle and then again during a 49-12 defeat to the Highlanders in the final match of the season.

“I got hung out to dry a little bit but that was on my own performance,” Mason said in January of the Sunwolves game. “That was probably the only week I’ve really thought that [I’m] really struggling.”

Mason was the victim of poor timing during a long apprenticeship.

He stayed loyal to the Waratahs when Foley was still chief playmaker but also failed to take his chances when they presented.

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China’s disgraced swimmer Sun Yang is starting to lose support as fans apologise to Mack Horton


Sun Yang, China’s first swimmer to snatch Olympic gold, appears to be losing domestic support after he was given an eight-year ban for tampering with a drug test.

At the same time, some supporters of China’s most-successful swimmer are changing their tune in online apologies to his arch-rival, Australian swimmer Mack Horton.

Horton, an Olympic gold medallist, made headlines last year when he refused to stand on a podium next to Sun.

The Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) handed down the sentence against Sun in February, after an investigation found the three-time Olympic champion guilty of refusing to cooperate with sample collectors during a visit to his home in September 2018.

While Sun lodged an appeal against the ban on April 29 with Switzerland’s highest court, the swimmer is beginning to see his once-fervent domestic support wane.

The South China Morning Post and local media reported that Sun’s official page on the Chinese platform Weibo has shed about 360,000 of followers over the past two months.

The embattled athlete — whose individual record is second only to that of Michael Phelps — still boasts some 33 million followers, but many Chinese social media users have piled on.

Another user said under the same post: “If Sun Yang is wrong, he must admit his wrongdoing and take responsibility for all the consequences, but there is currently no proof of him taking [banned] drugs.”

Chinese users purportedly apologise to Australia’s Horton

Australian swimmer Mack Horton (left) looks elsewhere while Sun Yang and Gabriele Detti hold up their world championship medals.
Mack Horton, left, staged a podium protest against Sun at last year’s FINA World Championships.(AP: Lee Jin-man)

Sun is the first man in swimming history to clinch Olympic and world championship gold medals at every freestyle distance between 200 metres and 1,500 metres, but questions about his record have been significantly amplified by Horton.

Horton labelled Sun a “drug cheat” at the Rio Games in 2016, referring to the Chinese athlete’s 2014 doping charge for a drug that has since been taken off the banned list.

In late April, Horton’s father, Andrew, told the Weekend Australian Magazine that their home was broken into a week after Mack’s comments.

He also said attacks on his business’s website stopped once traffic was stopped from China.

But it was three years later, at the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, where tensions between two swimmers reached fever pitch: Horton refused to shake hands or share the podium with Sun, who had won gold in the 400-metre freestyle.

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Following Horton’s protest, Sun claimed the Australian had “disrespected China”.

At the time, Sun claimed that Horton had “disrespected China” with his protests, which sparked a torrent of abuse toward the Australian on Western and Chinese social media, in addition to threats made to Horton’s family in Melbourne.

They told the Weekend Australian their family home in Melbourne’s east had their plants and trees poisoned, while a “bucketload” of centimetre-thick glass shards were found in their backyard pool.

But in recent weeks, a trickle of comments of apology have appeared under Horton’s Instagram posts. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are banned in China, however, they can be reached by some virtual private networks, VPNs.

One comment from a week ago read, “Apologies! Add oil” — a phrase used to express support — under an Instagram post from Horton where the Olympian is pictured shirtless.

Another, from March, read: “As a Chinese, on behalf myself, I want to say sorry to you. Hope you can forgive Chinese for what we had done to you. You are a man who is brave [and] strong. You truly are a warrior.”

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The ABC contacted Mack Horton but he did not reply to an interview request.

A hammer and a smartphone led to Sun’s demise

Sun’s entourage refused to hand over his blood vials following an incident where a member of the testing party, known as a doping control officer (DCA), was discovered taking non-consensual photos of the swimmer from behind.

Security footage from the clubhouse where the testing was carried out appears to confirm Sun’s statement that he asked to see the DCA’s mobile phone, then asked him to delete certain photos.

After the incident, Sun and his entourage claim they had asked for the accreditation of all of the three testing officers present, and found that only one of them had proper documentation.

CAS found that Sun offered to wait until a properly accredited team arrived, but the testing party did not take up the offer.

Sun Yang smiling and talking to a man in a suit while seated a the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Sun Yang was given the ban by CAS in February this year.(Reuters: Denis Balibouse)

Then it all began to unravel for Sun. On his instructions, one of his entourage used a hammer to break the glass container that held his blood samples.

The blood samples themselves weren’t destroyed in the altercation. They were taken by Sun’s entourage.

The investigation also revealed that the testing officers handed over the containers “under pressure” from Sun prior to the incident.

Sun later ripped up the test’s paperwork in front of the officers present.

It is believed the blood samples in question remain in the possession of the swimmer’s doctor Ba Zhen, however, CAS said they could no longer be tested as the “chain of custody was broken”.

While a final decision is yet to be made over Sun’s fate, it appears that China’s court of public opinion is beginning to turn against one of the country’s most decorated athletes.



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