All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has brushed aside explosive match-fixing claims made in Sir Graham Henry's biography.
The allegations have caused a furore both here in New Zealand and around the world after Sir Graham revealed while watching a video review of the All Blacks' quarter-final loss to France at the 2007 Rugby World Cup, he briefly suspected match-fixing played a part in the shock result.
Speaking about the claims today, Hansen, who was an assistant to Sir Graham at the time, said it was time to let the issue rest.
"Look, you've got to ask him about those things it's irrelevant as far as I'm concerned, I've moved on. It's 2012," he said.
Penned by rugby writer Bob Howitt, 'Graham Henry Final Word' stops short of making the allegations concrete. Instead, the passage describes Henry's emotions and thoughts in the aftermath of the loss, as he dealt with the tidal wave of disapproval from heartbroken and disillusioned New Zealand rugby followers.
Howitt and the book's publishers Harper Collins ran the controversial words past their lawyers with Howitt yesterday revealing some further portions have been removed from the final copy to avoid compromising their legal position.
However, the comments sparked immediate attention from local and foreign media with Sunday Times correspondent and regular critic of New Zealand rugby, Stephen Jones, taking to Twitter to voice his scepticism.
He, labelled the comments as a "Puke-making assault on Wayne Barnes by bitter Graham Henry", while challenging the IRB to take action against the All Blacks' 2011 World Cup winning coach.
The sport's governing body offered a tentative response saying only that the comments had been "noted" as speculation began to mount as to the nature and substance of any further retort from the IRB and Barnes.
Brendan Gallagher, writing in Britain's Daily Telegraph, mocked Sir Graham's motives for voicing his suspicions, saying, "Hilarious Graham Henry trying to rewrite history", mirroring the contempt held for 1995 All Blacks coach Laurie Mains' accusations that food-poisoning derailed his side's World Cup final against South Africa.
Sir Graham said he was "physically ill" after watching a tape of the match and asserted how numerous match statistics were so skewed against his side that he felt the performance of match referee Wayne Barnes deserved closer inspection.
His suspicions stemmed from the fact the All Blacks had enjoyed an overwhelming 73% territorial advantage in the match, winning 166 rucks to France's 42 and made only 73 tackles compared with France's 331, yet they had not been awarded a single penalty in the final 50 minutes of play.
Publicly Henry refused to point the finger at Barnes' performance but upon his return to New Zealand voiced his concerns to the New Zealand Rugby Union and the International Rugby Board and asked if there were any review systems in place. But he was told there were no such avenues available.
Reaction here has included the suggestion that Sir Graham's decision to speak out five years on from that fateful World Cup, less than a year after he found redemption with the All Blacks' 2011 World Cup triumph over France, was inspired not so much through sour grapes but rather as a ploy to boost book sales.
The book is available in stores today.