Sir Graham Henry has revealed he was so shocked by referee Wayne Barnes' poor performance at the 2007 Rugby World Cup that he had suspected sports betting had played a part.
In an interview with TVNZ's Sunday programme Henry said that after the All Blacks heart-breaking quarter-final loss to France in 2007 he grabbed a tape of the game and obsessively played it over and over again.
After watching the video he momentarily let the thought of match-fixing enter his mind before dismissing it.
It is only now that Henry can talk publicly about it.
"You know, we've said nothing for four years, nothing, have we? The time has come to say what we really thought, or what I really thought."
He said it made him "physically ill" when he viewed the footage of the match.
The All Blacks had an overwhelming 73% territorial advantage, winning 166 rucks to France's 42 and making only 73 tackles compared with France's 331. Yet they had not been awarded a single penalty in the final 50 minutes.
"We just got sawn off by the officials in the game and that's the major reason we lost the game.
"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."
In fact, Barnes had penalised France only twice in the entire game. Henry says he was so shocked by what he saw, he became nauseous before actually throwing up - and he had only got to halftime.
His final analysis was that Barnes missed 40 penalty infringements by France and that if New Zealand had got all the penalties they deserved, the final score should been 42-3 or 42-6.
He said FIFA have a system of looking at questionable games and he expected that the international rugby board would have had something similar.
"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."
Henry said he had refused to blame Barnes, and later Henry won an international sports award for the way he handled defeat.
"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," Henry said.
All other losing coaches had been dumped or resigned after the World Cup.
But, Henry wanted to keep the job, and crucially the All Blacks wanted him to stay.
"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," Henry said.
France lost to England in the semi-finals, and South Africa won the World Cup.
The All Blacks went on to win the 2011 Rugby World Cup under Henry's leadership.
- With Fairfax