Henry suspected match fixing after RWC 07 exit

Graham Henry believes the All Blacks were victims of match fixing during the 20-18 quarter-final loss to France in the 2007 World Cup.

In his biography, ‘Graham Henry Final Word’, Henry revealed that he contemplated match-fixing as the only logical explanation for the All Blacks’ upset 20-18 loss to Les Bleus.

Henry analysed the game on video for his report to the NZRU and found Barnes had awarded only two penalties to New Zealand during the game. His analysis was that France deserved to be penalised up to 40 times.

His gut feeling, according to his biography, was that the video ‘would confirm that referee Wayne Barnes and his touch judges, Jonathan Kaplan from South Africa and Tony Spreadbury from England, hadn’t exactly covered themselves in glory at the Millennium Stadium, that they had missed an obvious forward pass when France scored its match-winning try – a pass so forward everyone in the stadium had witnessed it except the referee – and that Barnes had been pretty lenient on the French at the breakdowns, probably costing the All Blacks the game’.

Henry’s video had three different angles and featured statistical breakdowns of lineouts, scrums, penalties, tackle counts, territory and possession. On those statistics, the All Blacks dominated. They had an overwhelming 73% territorial advantage, winning 166 rucks to France’s 42 and making only 73 tackles compared with France’s 331.

A mind-boggled Henry was so stunned by his findings, he told the NZRU it should pressure the IRB to institute an inquiry. He also said it was ‘incomprehensible’ that the IRB did not have strategies in place to investigate bizarre matches.

The NZRU chose not to push for an investigation.