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New Zealand Rugby
Henry clarifies match-fixing suspicion
ESPN Staff
July 29, 2012
Graham Henry talks to the press, Portrait session, Heritage Hotel, Auckland, New Zealand, December 29, 2011
Sir Graham Henry was "physically ill" after the All Blacks' elimination © Getty Images
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Sir Graham Henry has defended his recent criticism of referee Wayne Barnes' handling of the All Blacks' elimination from the 2007 Rugby World Cup and confirmed he asked if the authorities had systems in place to monitor sports betting.

Henry's dismay at the New Zealand's quarter-final defeat to France seven years ago is revealed in his new biography, entitled Final Word. In the book he questions the performance of Barnes and his officials and reports suggest he 'momentarily' wondered if the match had been fixed with the timing and nature of the accusations causing a stir throughout the rugby world.

However Henry, who went on to lead the All Blacks to World Cup glory last year, has reiterated his disbelief at how the match was handled and admitted his suprise that there is no system in place to monitor any irregular sports betting patterns.

"You know, we've said nothing for four years, nothing, have we?" he said in an interview with TVNZ. "The time has come to say what we really thought, or what I really thought. The All Blacks didn't get a penalty for the last 60 minutes of the game and attacked over 70% of that time. Now that's, that's impossible but it wasn't impossible on that particular day.

"I asked the rugby union and the International Board if there was any, any laws or any system that they use to look at bizarre games and look at the possibility of sports betting. But apparently they don't which surprised me."

Asked if the officials were cheating or were incompetent, Henry said: "I guess that's why you have a system of analysing those things. If you had a system of analysing, maybe you would come to a result and I could answer that question."

Henry's own analysis of the game suggested that Barnes missed 40 infringements by France, including a forward pass in the build-up to Yannick Jauzion's decisive try for France but his side accepted their defeat at the time.

On his immediate public silence, Henry said: "We made no excuses, we just took it on the chin and said we didn't play as well as we should've. The French played well, better than we thought they would and we didn't get the bounce of the ball.

"The players were looking at me, how's Ted going to handle this, he's under pressure. Is he going to stand up or is he going to run away? So I had to stand up because that's what I've been asking them to do for the last four years."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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