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Henry defends 'honest' match-fixing claim
ESPN Staff
August 7, 2012
New Zealand's Richard McCaw and Graham Henry reflect defeat to France, New Zealand v France, Rugby World Cup 2007, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, October 10, 2007
Sir Graham Henry's controversial take on his side's exit from the 2007 Rugby World Cup came in his recently-published biography © Getty Images
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Sir Graham Henry has admitted his recent match-fixing claim may have been "naive" but insists it was an "honest" reaction to New Zealand's exit from the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

In his recently published biography, the former All Blacks' boss revealed his outrage at referee Wayne Barnes' handling of his side's quarter-final defeat to France and details what he saw as a litany of mistakes and missed infringements. His headline-grabbing concerns also include suspicions that match-fixing was involved - a claim that has since been widely criticised throughout the rugby world.

APNZ reports that Henry defended the contents of the book at a dinner in Wellington, his first public speaking engagement since its publication. "You write these books and you can say, 'Well, let's not say that, let's fob that, let's not get too much into that.'

"But I think if you write an autobiography, it needs to be honest, it needs to be real, it needs to be what you think," he told guests. "Maybe I'm naive, but this book is about that - it's about being black and white, totally honest and my thoughts are in that book, and there's no fobbing on those."

Henry reiterated that he thought something was strange in the immediate aftermath of his side's 20-18 defeat to the French but "didn't really know".

"So I decided that all I would say is that we didn't play as well as we should, the French played better than we thought and we didn't get the bounce of the ball," he said. "I kept on saying that for a long time.

"It was completely outside anything I had experienced before. And I just thought you know, match-fixing, sports betting - and that's what I put in the book, and it's caused a huge bloody furore."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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