Debunked: Why Graham Henry's 2007 RWC Claims Aren't Credible - Green and Gold Rugby

Debunked: Why Graham Henry’s 2007 RWC Claims Aren’t Credible

Debunked: Why Graham Henry’s 2007 RWC Claims Aren’t Credible

Graham Henry’s recently released book includes the revelation that Henry thought the refereeing of New Zealand’s quarter final loss to France in the 2007 Rugby World Cup was so bizarre that there may have been matching fixing involved, and that watching footage of the decisions in the match had made him physically ill.

Key Points
  • France actually committed 32 un-penalised infringements (not 40), whereas New Zealand committed 37
  • In the phases of play where those infringements happened, New Zealand infringed first almost twice as much as France (28 v 16)
  • Henry’s scoring assumptions don’t add up

Whilst the history books show that France won the match 20-18 and the penalty count was 8-2 in favour of France, Henry now claims that France committed a significant number of infringements in that match that were not penalised, and that had the most obvious of those been penalised, the score would actually have been no worse than 42-6 to New Zealand.

If you were able to go back in time and change one decision in a series of events could you really be sure what the effect would have been on the remainder of the series of events? How could you know for sure that a penalty attempt would have been successful? How could you know that from the lineout after a penalty the attacking team wouldn’t have dropped the ball before scoring a try? You couldn’t, so in my opinion any recreation of the score in a game is invalid.

There are numerous infringements in every match that do not get penalised at all levels of the game. If every infringement was penalised in a match there would be very little rugby played apart from shots at penalty goal. I think a referee has to make a judgement about the impact an infringement has on a match – if there is no impact on the play, then play on.

In our game decisions are made on the run by the officials – they don’t have the luxury of stopping play and going back over the footage in slow motion or frame by frame (unless it’s a decision regarding a try). I don’t think there’s much point in analysing decisions by officials post-match on a different basis to the way they have to make them.

Graham Henry obviously sees it differently – he’s identified every infringement by France based on his extensive analysis of the footage, which he says allows him to conclude what the score would have been in the match – that’s some crystal ball he has!

I hadn’t watched the match in full before Henry’s comments were reported. Sure, I’d seen the furore over Wayne Barnes’s refereeing and I’d seen the highlights including the missed forward pass in France’s final try, but I found it hard to believe that the officials could have been as one-sided as Henry believes. When I did watch the match in full I saw plenty of mistakes made by the officials, but I saw a lot more than Henry claims.

I decided to examine the match in detail, and whilst Graham Henry only focussed on infringements by France I made sure that I considered infringements by both teams. Having completed that exercise I looked at what impact all of the decisions or non-decisions had on the match, even though, as I said, I think any such recreation is invalid.

This article summarises the findings of my analysis but you can download the full report here. For those who question my findings, I hope you take the time to read the full report to see the detail supporting my summary.

Of course the laws in 2007 were slightly different to those of today and interpretations were also different. My references to laws in this article are to the current laws (unless the law has changed) so that you don’t have to go searching for a 2007 law book.

In conducting my analysis I first cut up the match footage into clips of every play. Then I examined each of those clips frame by frame – that’s 25 frames per second, which allows you to see a lot more detail than you do watching an event in real time or even in slow motion. Whilst most of the footage only has one camera angle there is also plenty of footage where the three camera angles Henry says he used in his analysis are also publicly available.

There were many events that looked like an infringement on first viewing — and even some that looked like an infringement after multiple viewings — that I subsequently satisfied myself were not by examining the footage frame by frame.

A summary list of the infringements by both teams is published below. A full list including details of the time, the player who committed the infringement, details of the infringement and which law relates can be downloaded here.

Infringements by France

Whilst Graham Henry claims there were 40 infringements by France in the match that were not penalised, I found 34 infringements by France during the match of which only two were penalised. I found that France committed seven infringements in attack and 27 in defence.

So, even though I only found 32 infringements by France that were not penalised, there’s no doubt that Henry’s claim regarding France not being penalised for numerous infringements is correct. If you think you know the extra eight infringements Graham Henry might have found, let me know.

Infringements by New Zealand

I found 45 infringements in the match by New Zealand of which only eight were penalised. I found that New Zealand committed 21 infringements in attack and 24 in defence.

That’s 37 infringements by New Zealand in the match that weren’t penalised – that sheds a different light on the match, doesn’t it!

How does Henry calculate his revised French score?

Graham Henry claims that France should have been awarded no more than six points in the match. Given that France were awarded two converted tries and kicked two penalty goals, it’s obvious that Henry believes neither try by France should have been awarded but concedes that their penalty goals should have been allowed.

The first penalty from which France kicked a goal was awarded in the last play before halftime when Ali Williams was penalised – infringement number 45 in the table below.

The second penalty from which France kicked a goal was awarded when Luke McAlister was penalised for deliberately obstructing a French attacker and was subsequently given a yellow card – infringement number 54 in the table below.

I agree with Graham Henry’s assessment – these were both infringements that should have been penalised.

My full report includes a detailed assessment of whether France’s two tries should have been awarded. There are problems with both, but the alleged forward pass in France’s second try wasn’t as clear-cut as it may have seemed at first.

Rule out both of those tries and France would have scored a maximum of six points, as claimed by Graham Henry.

How does Henry calculate New Zealand’s revised score?

New Zealand scored 18 points from two tries, one conversion and two penalty goals. So we need to find another 24 points to get to the 42 points Henry claims they should have scored.

The most likely explanation for those 24 points is an additional two tries, one of which would have been converted, and four penalty goals. My full report details the six most likely plays Graham Henry might claim led to those possible penalty goals and tries.

On first viewing of those plays it seemed obvious that they were solid point scoring opportunities that featured infringements that were not penalised. However, this is the difficulty with an analysis after the event. Of those six solid scoring opportunities, four should not have occurred because New Zealand actually committed the first infringement in the play leading to those opportunities. Again, if you want to rely on all infringements to claim a possible penalty goal or try, then you should also take into account the earlier infringements that would have given France a penalty and attacking possession, rather than offering a later scoring opportunity for New Zealand.

How many infringements did each team commit that occurred first in a possession sequence?

I’ve established that if the earliest infringement in a possession sequence had been penalised there are infringements that occurred later in the same possession sequence that would not have resulted in penalties. On that basis, instead of the 79 infringements I found by both teams, the total for the match would have only been 44. New Zealand infringed 28 times in the match and were penalised for five of those whilst France only infringed 16 times and were penalised for two of those.  So New Zealand infringed first nearly twice as many times as France!

As far as I’m concerned the claims by Graham Henry of refereeing bias against New Zealand in this match are not balanced or credible. They completely ignore the infringements made by New Zealand that were not penalised, which I’ve shown could have had a significant impact. 

Yes, the officials made mistakes and missed plenty of infringements, but it was France who was disadvantaged most when it came to infringements not being penalised. 

Perhaps Graham Henry thought no one would take the time to examine his claims more closely. I would have hoped for more from a man with his standing in the game!

First Half Infringements:

Infringement Number Time on Game Clock Team Infringing Number of Player Infringing Penalised Infringement Order in Play
1 00:00:53 FR 5 No 1
2 00:00:56 NZ 8 No 2
3 00:00:57 NZ 7 No 3
4 00:00:58 FR 8 No 4
5 00:02:50 NZ 5 No 1
6 00:03:10 FR 4 No 1
7 00:04:19 FR 3 No 1
8 00:04:32 FR 4 No 2
9 00:04:52 NZ 7 Yes 1
10 00:05:56 FR 4 and 19 No 1
11 00:07:57 NZ 3 No 1
12 00:07:59 NZ 7 Yes 2
13 00:08:55 NZ 8 No 1
14 00:10:08 FR 8 No 1
15 00:10:26 FR 4 No 2
16 00:11:59 FR 4 Yes 1
17 00:14:21 NZ 5 No 1
18 00:15:46 NZ 5 No 1
19 00:15:57 FR 8 No 2
20 00:16:01 FR 3 No 3
21 00:19:26 FR 4 No 1
22 00:19:35 FR 19 No 2
23 00:21:03 NZ 3 No 1
24 00:22:07 FR 4 No 1
25 00:22:12 FR 7 No 2
26 00:23:28 NZ 6 Yes 1
27 00:27:41 NZ 4 No 1
28 00:28:55 FR 7 Yes 1
29 00:31:00 FR 5 No 1
30 00:32:38 NZ 3 No 1
31 00:33:06 FR 10 No 1
32 00:33:07 FR 8 No 2
33 00:33:14 NZ 7 No 3
34 00:33:15 NZ 4 No 4
35 00:33:40 NZ 13 Yes 1
36 00:33:42 NZ 7 No 2
37 00:34:34 NZ 5 No 1
38 00:35:00 NZ 6 No 1
39 00:35:08 NZ 4 Yes 2
40 00:35:14 FR 19 No 3
41 00:35:17 NZ 1 No 4
42 00:36:53 NZ 10 No 1
43 00:37:48 FR 3 No 1
44 00:39:17 FR 13 No 2
45 00:39:30 NZ 5 Yes 1
First Half – Infringements First Half – Penalties First Half – First Infringements
22 Against France 2 12
23 Against New Zealand 6 15
45 8 27

Second Half Infringements:

Infringement Number Time on Game Clock Team Infringing Number of Player Infringing Penalised Infringement Order in Play
46 00:40:40 FR 11 No 1
47 00:40:22 NZ 4 No 2
48 00:43:09 NZ 7 No 1
49 00:43:31 FR 19 No 2
50 00:43:40 NZ 4 No 3
51 00:43:53 NZ 8 No 1
52 00:44:01 NZ 2 No 1
53 00:45:15 NZ 3 No 1
54 00:45:22 NZ 12 Yes 2
55 00:47:15 NZ 4 No 1
56 00:47:32 NZ 13 No 2
57 00:47:59 FR 19 No 3
58 00:49:13 FR 2 No 4
59 00:49:33 FR 9 No 5
60 00:50:18 NZ 1 No 1
61 00:51:05 NZ 5 No 1
62 00:51:23 FR 3 No 1
63 00:51:40 NZ 1 No 2
64 00:51:43 FR 16 No 3
65 00:52:30 NZ 13 No 1
66 00:52:31 FR 10 No 2
67 00:58:29 NZ 3 No 1
68 00:59:52 FR 16 No 2
69 01:00:45 NZ 6 Yes 1
70 01:02:41 NZ 7 No 1
71 01:02:42 NZ 3 No 2
72 01:02:44 NZ 3 No 3
73 01:10:24 NZ 1 No 1
74 01:13:20 NZ 5 No 1
75 01:15:33 NZ 3 No 2
76 01:16:29 FR 19 No 3
77 01:18:29 FR 8 No 1
78 01:18:46 NZ 8 No 2
79 01:20:41 FR 19 No 1
Second Half – Infringements Second Half – Penalties Second Half – First Infringements
12 Against France 0 4
22 Against New Zealand 2 13
34 2 17

Total Infringements:

Match – Infringements Match – Penalties Match – First Infringements
34 Against France 2 16
45 Against New Zealand 8 28
79 10 44
  • Lance Taylor

    It’s all opinion though, isn’t it. Yours, Henry’s or in fact Wayne Barnes. Who cares – it was all about selling a book.

    Did you buy it? Well done – job done.

    • Garry

      True, this master of spin is out there selling books, but the other unsaid aspect is the pressure put on referees who blow the whistle against his precious Blacks by creating headlines. How many 50-50 calls do we see going to NZ these days?

      Referees like Barnes and Dickinson need our support, and be put up on pedestals for a different reason .

      And that pic of McCheat and a yellow card (even though not his) is a s rare as hens teeth. It’s going straight to the pool room.

    • p.Tah

      The disappointing aspect of Henry’s opinion is that he only gave one side of the story, as Scott points out he has conveniently ignored the penalties that France missed out on. He also covieniently ignore the fact that NZ had the chance to win the game in the last 5 minutes but they stuffed up.

      His opinion is biased by dejection and disbelief. At the time he saw his career was all but over. He lost the unlosable RWC and his only justification could be that external forces plotted against him. In the weeks after the game it is understandable to entertain conspiracy theories. However with the passing of time most individuals would begin to realize that the initial thoughts were reactionary and based on emotion. (The fact that he was throwing up indicates he was pretty emotional.)

      My issue with this is that he continues to say that he believes match fixing has occurred. He believes it’s black and white, but Scott has shown that it isn’t. Yet he continues to damage the reputation of the referees and bring the game into disrepute based on ‘his opinion’. The truth of the matter is that this is a blemish on his career and he is trying to find a way to deflect the criticism.

    • Garry


      …and our mistake would be to assume that he is that naive to believe match fixing is at play. He is not. He is a old head master with years of rugby and life experience on us.

      Crafty? Yes. Naive? I doubt it.

  • Brent

    I don’t think this analysis really gets you anywhere.

    As an initial comment, I don’t think many people anywhere give much credence to the match-fixing argument. I’ve seen too many terrible refereeing performances over the areas to ascribe to malice what simple incompetence will explain.

    But your analysis is written in the fantasyland of sunshine and rainbows where all the fringy stuff NZ do when they have the ball is penalised. It wasn’t in 2007, and it still generally isn’t now. Rugby is still largely a game where the defensive side is penalised (excepting penalties for not releasing at the breakdown). That is particularly true when Wayne Barnes is refereeing.

    The instructive stat therefore is that France infringed 27 times on defence and were penalised twice, while NZ infringed 24 times on defence but were penalised 7 times. (In typical Barnes style, there was just one penalty against the attacking side in the match).

  • johnny-boy

    Geez you are delivering gold Scott. If McKenzie doesn’t employ you when he becomes Wallaby coach (won’t be long now) he needs his head read. Who’d have thought the kiwis would complain about being beaten in a game where they cheated more than the other side and still lost. I mean bro, it’s an outrage and so unfair haha.
    Graeme Henry has alway been a nasty little man and he has to be the luckiest coach ever, to date. He was damn lucky he didn’t get sacked after 2007 (only because McCaw knew Deans was a dill), he was lucky to win 2011 thanks to Joubert and he was incredibly lucky to coach towards the end of his career where his two main opponents were bumbling fools, Deans and PDV. You can’t help feel his luck is going to run out sooner or later. It would be fun to see a similar anaylsis of the 2011 final but I’m sure you’ve got better things to do. Expect a call from Barnes Queens Counsel tho :).

    • D.

      Wow, I never looked at Graham Henry in that light. You’ve opened my eyes sir. Thankyou.

  • Reds4theWin

    I notice Grham Henry did no such analysis for 2011’s WC final where France were ripped off in the final? That was much more a case of match fixing!! He is just a grub pure and simple.

  • ooaahh

    Your the best Scott. Incredible work. Thanks for contributing

  • danny

    This game was an education for Henry and the ABs. In particular, the strategy of deliberately infringing (mainly through offside breakdown play, blocking/holding down and offside at the kick) may have had its origin in wearing a loss where the referee had an influence on the outcome. They may have lost this game because of reffing decisions, but they have won far more than they should have because of ref’s decisions.

  • Dally M

    Awesome work Scott!

    At least you backed yours up with the facts, unlike Henry that throws this crap out there and the NZ fans lap it up like rabid dogs as the Gospel according to Sir Graham.

    And he was at it again referring to Quade & his ‘cheap shots’, totally ignoring the fact that Quade was only retaliating to earlier off the ball attention he received from Sir Richie & Co.

    Was he stupid kneeing Richie in the head? Sure, but he never started the whole ‘cheap shot’ nonsense & the AB’s gave far more than Quade gave back in return.

  • Nelse

    I bought and read the book. I would have no matter the claims. I enjoyed bob dwyer’s, rod marqueens, and Clive Woodwards books. I enjoy books about rugby, biographys and on successful management. The best thing you can do is learn from other peoples mistakes and successes so you can not do, or do as the case may be, the same things.

    I enjoyed the book. It showed a different side to the one always portrayed here of the grumpy old headmaster. And obviously I realise your as never as bad or as good as. They say you are

    But the thing that struck me was that throughout the book, and I’m not sure if it was Henry’s or the authors opinion, was that great coaching by Henry resulted in wins and whatever losses the darkness suffered was the cause of referees. There were a couple of games spoken about (maybe the first deans Bledisloe match and one of the saffa matches) where he said his team were outplayed. Almost without exception any other darkness loss was due to poor refereeing.

    The 2007 loss was the worst being spoken about in at least 3 or 4 maybe more chapters. It first threw me off when he said there was a penalty try awarded to his team controversially which cost him a final when one wasn’t awarded 3 or so years later. Thought that was very paranoid thinking.

    Just seemed very unprofessional to blame almost all his failures on refereeing

    • BloodRed

      Great truth there to how Kiwi’s view their losses. Just have a look at AB post game interviews, McCaw never gives credit to the other team for playing well in the advent of either a win or a loss . Check out the interview after the second Irish test from June. The commentator pointed out how well the Irish had played 4 or 5 times but Richie refused to acknowledge the Paddy’s even once and scowled about how bad the ABs had been. That’s after winning one of the most thrilling test matches I’ve seen for ages. I can cop teams and supporters being vocal and over the top when winning and shitty when losing (I am a Reds supporter) but he has mastered being ingracious in victory and raised it to a level that is now only matched by his cynical infringing. Probably learnt a bit from Henry

      • Dally M

        Thank god i’m not the only one who noticed it.

        My Kiwi friends all say what a great captain he is & how humble a guy he is as well.

        I, like you, have seen him give post match interview, after post match interview, where he just doesn’t give any credit to the opposition like when they lost to the Reds, Rebels etc.

        • BloodRed

          Kiwi friends, you poor bastard. Well I’m probably worse off, I’ve got Kiwi in-laws and they are just as oblivious to it. Maybe that “you didn’t beat us, we lost it attitude” helps keep them on top but even a little bit of false modesty would make them (McCaw and Henry in particular) easiest to take.

  • Dave

    Wow. There’s a good couple of hours work in there! ;-)
    Good work, great analysis. I’ve long since held the opinion that Ted was full of shit. This goes a long way to confirming it.
    Not having read the book I wonder if he presented his version of events to the NZRU when he was making the case to be retained as head coach? If so he obviously got the job under some false pretences. Self deception is a wonderful thing. Oh well, whatever helps the kiwis sleep at night.
    Again great analysis.

  • CJ

    Great analysis, it’s such a shame that the Kiwis think they own the game of rugby & it’s their god given right to be World Champions….”God defend New Zealand!”

    • p.Tah

      In the 1990s and 2000s NZ basically packed up their air force. The thought was that if someone attacked them Australia would help. God Defend NZ? I guess they think we’re God :)

      • Robson

        I think you need to seperate your feelings on rugby from those on politics; especially the politics of military deployment in this region.

  • James

    Great work as always.

    Graham Henry has gone further up my ‘punchability’ list of late.Such contempt for other playing nations, such arrogance.

    Fact #1: Frogs deserved to beat the ABs in RWC 2011.
    And I can say that as impartial disliker of both sides and that I’m not as blind as ‘Sir’ Graham. because:
    Fact #2: Saffas deserved to beat us in RWC 2011

    Which indireclty leads me to ‘Sir’. FFS out globe is going down the shitter when he is a Sir and Richie is on his way to being one.

  • Steve

    Nice article.

    I would argue the reason NZ didn’t win was because they squandered 5 minutes in front of the French sticks and noone wanted to kick a field goal for fear of missing. If someone missed that shot, they would never live it down, so noone stood up an took the opportunity to win the game. 5 minutes goes by. Turnover. Full time. NZ bungled out.

    So penalties and forward passes aside, it was completely within NZ’s capabilities to win that game, in fact, Matt Dunning could have won it for them.

    • Jedi Nudist

      Agree. ABs lost the world cup final in 1995 to a drop goal . Although Merhtons went for a couple late in the game. England won on a drop goal in 2003. I can say for sure that if that had been England in the 2007 QF they would have gone for the drop goal. The ABs refused drop goal opportunities in the 2011 final too. In tight matches you ignore drop goals at your peril.

  • CJ

    Many of their military personnel switched to the Australian Defense Forces when they realised, during joint peacekeeping operations, that our army was getting paid more. Of course they could pull out of ANZUS claiming their points of difference, knowing full well that if they need to call on our (& the US) assistance that it would be unquestioned. I know it’s an issue of small man syndrome, but WE don’t dislike Kiwis (some of us have good Kiwi mates).

    • defunkt

      Better to be a small man with a big dick than a big fella with a tiny one. Keep the Vaseline handy G&GR, the AB’s are a comin’.

      • Fin

        baaaa…..I know you love it when I talk dirty.

        • Robson

          Defunkt’s post – associated with an avatar of a NZ VC winner is both repugnant and so far outside of the parameters of a serious rugby discussion that I am appalled and disgusted by it.

  • Ian


    So Grahame Henry is a wanker…

    not surprised.

  • gerard flanagan

    Far out,
    So its 2007 he’s critical off?
    Geez this guy is a Tosser.
    I’ve read all the AB conspiracys. If it wasn’t food posioning in the AB tour circa 82 to Australia, it was the food poisoning in 1995 at the world cup. Hey Graham talk us through the 1999 World Cup and what happened there with the frogs. In Australia we call it variously stage fright or choking.

    In the pantheon of unlikeable Kiwis, Graham Henry joins Colin Meads and Laurie Mains (with special mention to Dick Low) as the three men who are in a dead heat when it comes to high ranking losers.

  • Colonel Smouch

    Great analysis Scott – that must have been painstaking going through this frame by frame.

    History shows that Graham Henry took a team of once in a generation legends to the WC in 07 and failed, plain and simple. It should be no surprise that they were beaten by their bogey team away from home in a crunch match – we have seen this before. Has that been aspect forgotten?

    In 2011, the WC was theirs to lose and they almost did, to the same side with many of the same players – at home no less. In much the same way as Henry claims about 07, if a couple of calls went the way of the French in 2011, he would have presided over what would have been called a frail team that couldn’t win when it counted – eternal chokers. Whilst the AB’s have 2 WC’s to their credit, they had to do both at home and only just.

    No doubt the AB’s have been the best team in the world for a decade. Nobody would deny that. People see things their own way and this is the case with Henry. It is a shame that his view is tinted with arrogance when in reality he was fortunate to be able to take on a dream job leading a team of exceptional once in a generation players with the help of some very handy assistants. It is a shame he couldn’t except things for the way they were in good spirit rather than moan like a spoiled child even after hey had won 4 years later.

  • boutbloodytime

    Get over it Graham….if only if only if only….like my old man says: Yeah, and if only your Auntie had balls she’d be your Uncle…or not.

    The ABs on paper should have won probably 4 RWCs by now…but it’s not played on paper (something some of our Olympic swimmers had to learn some tough lessons in recently)…truth be told the ABs have underperformed in World Cups & been rolled by better teams on the day…that’s what happens in high pressure events up against good sides…

    But more importantly, top analysis Scott….I’d hate to ever get in an argument with you, you’d dazzle me with science that I would no longer be able to believe my own bulls@*t!

    On a slightly lighter note, I’m impressed with how much the haka has improved since 1973- (only need to see the first 30 seconds of the clip)

  • Bobas

    Great analysis but i’m glad you’re not reffing…

    I think its funny that he’s living 5 years in the past. Calculating a score of what might have been.

    My personal opinion on what happened in that cup was that both AUS and NZ lost their no.1 fly halves and so it left the door open to SA winning.

  • chasmac

    I couldn’t help but notice that the NZ number 7 appears on the table 7 times for infringements but with only 2 penalties.
    That nearly 9% of the total whch is a motherload for 1 player.
    Getting pinged for 2/7 is an outrage.
    I thought he never congratulated the opposition because he was silently protesting to off-the-ball tactics from them.
    I know coaches who would demote players if they passively allowed this level of professional fouls to occur.
    I liked the attitude of Glen McGrath who would nominate the oppositions best batsman as his bunny.
    Its time to have a bunny season for Black 7.

  • redbull

    Good work work Scott.

    But I think that given it IS Graham Henry, and it IS the All Blacks, we should all just accept what they claim and take the RWC off South Africa for 2007 and give it to the All Blacks. After all, they are the worlds greatest team so have no need to cheat or use dubious tactics.

    Kiwis….what a bunch of…..

  • Liam

    I’m not a lawyer, but christ if I was Wayne Barnes I would throw everything I had at Grahame Henry. And go after him for his nonsense. I wish he was sacked after the 07 RWC as we wouldn’t have to put up with Robbie Deans who is seriously off his head and out of his depth. Barnes refereed the same way as he had all tournament. He was strict, and it is a fact Barnes’ refereeing doesn’t help the All Blacks game plan he is much stricter.

    Henry is a great big joke. Both Henry and Deans should be in a retirement home sharing the same room. The pair of them deserve each other.

    • johnny-boy

      Wayne Barnes is senior counsel actually so would know his options

    • Jay

      Yeah…cause Wayne Barnes wants that match to be disected in great detail second by second in the public arena. Not gonna happen.

    • Jay

      Also, given Scott has found that Barnes blew his whistle 10 times when apparently there were a combined 79 offences, I don’t really see how you can argue he was ‘strict’.

  • billybobv

    Surely a team good enough to win at least 42-6 could have overcome a 2-0 penalty deficit in the second half and won a close finish!?

  • The Other Dave

    Heh, Barnes would be wise enough to maintain a dignified silence and let Henry continue to give himself enough rope.

    Henry is fouling his own legacy. He was bound to be remembered for going out on top after the 2011 World Cup; instead he dredges up the 2007 quarter final. Who is advising this man? Maybe he could also write an addendum on the 2001 Lions tour (Austin Healy gave the Wallabies too much ammunition!), or Wales getting smashed by 40+ against Ireland.

    I also reckon the NZRU would be shaking their heads, the last thing they need is another ‘Suzie’ conspiracy – the rest of the world had a good old laugh at that caper. If only someone had looked at his manuscript and tapped him on the shoulder…

  • Bunceman

    As an ABs supporter, I am also a devout follower of anything Sir Graham says. When we lost in 2007, I preyed that he would stay on and that we wouldn’t end up with Robbie Deans. History shows that the NZRFU have been vindicated for this decision as RD has been shown up for the fraud he is.

    In saying that, Sir Graham’s comments do make me feel a bit uneasy. I remember watching that game thinking the ABs were just “off”. I was obviously angered that the ref missed the forward pass, but if anything, I thought the ABs were guilty of match fixing for not trying to take the drop goal when they were in the right part of the field. It didn’t seem right to me. I mean, if it was a cricket game and a team needed 6 to win and the batter just blocked the ball, wouldn’t he be the one accused of match fixing? The ABs had plenty of chances to win the game, but didn’t take them …. just a thought.

    And as for tomorrow. All I can say is that the longer Robbie Deans is in charge, the longer Australia’s Bledisloe misery will continue. The positional decisions he made during the World Cup in 2003 were shocking. Looks like he hasn’t learnt anything!

    • johnny-boy

      It’s no wonder McCaw came out and publicly backed Henry to be retained in 2007. It was a polite way of saying to the NZRFU “anybody but bloody Deans”.
      MCaw also apparently said something along the lines that Deans knew how to come out the other end, which appears to mean Deans is great at telling administrators what they want to hear and as a result is a bit of a teflon boy no matter how incompetent his coaching actually is.

  • Mickeyb

    Henry comes across as a sore loser with his allegations of match fixing in his recent comments and interview with Fran Kelly:

    Did anyone see the countless infringements of offside, playing the ball on the ground and hold backs/ interference by All Black pack (esp McCaw) during last year’s RWC??!!

    If you can get away with it – you do it!

    And you don’t see the French bitching about this nor should Wallaby fans if we win by these means tomorrow night.

    Sure blame the ref, kick the cat, go for a run and get over it!

    But conspiracy theory?! What a tosser!

    • Dally M

      And that’s it in a nutshell.

      How many times have we cursed Kaplan when he has fucked us over in the test matches? We have a vent & move on to the next game.

      We don’t still bitch about that one match 5 years later & throw out conspiracy theories & match fixing allegations.

      How about Henry tells us who he thinks would have wanted to fix the match! Probably Quade Cooper. He seems to think he is the devil in disguise.

      • Jay

        Yeah, but Wallaby losses are so frequent that people forget them after a week. NZ fans got a truckload of shit for the 2007 choke (and regardless of Barnes performance it was still a choke).

        The reason people are still talking about it 5 years later is that we were still being ragged about it up until about 10:30pm on October 23 last year.

  • Tui

    Interesting work Scott. Would love you to do the same to the 2011 final where many are claiming France were robbed. Sour grapes I have always thought.

  • Tui

    Interesting work Scott. How about doing the same with the 2011 final.

  • gerard flanagan

    What if Robbie has been a NZ mole all along. It has crossed my mind and I,m not joking.

    But back to the book I won’t read.

    Conjecture and speculation eh? On Henry’s logic IF the ref spotted the knock on in the last famous ensemble play by the French against Australia in the Semi Final of the World Cup in 1987 which resulted in the match winning try then we would have won inaugural Wolrd Cup. Simple. What have I missed something?

    Kiwis really are undemonstrative people? Well not anymore. Henrty is the whinger god ever put breath into when it comes to being wronged at rugby. The expression “rub of the green” was invented for them.

    Oh big tip too. Hey Richie learn some manners bucko and acknowledge the opposition whether in victory or defeat. Just remember you don’t need to have a long neck to be a goose……………..

  • CJ

    Hey Henry & co., we should have won the Bledisloe Cup match in Sydney two years ago only that Aussie hater Craig Jobert reffed (and bloody Mitchell dropped that sitter that ABs scored off). Refs are necessary evils in rugby (maybe Henry has a different opinion), I just can’t believe he reviews over & over again at his failures. I wonder if he reviewed the LIONS TOUR 2001??? You are are true LOSER!!!

  • Lindommer

    Outstanding work, Scotty. And Ted, I don’t know what to say, the words pathetic and despicable come to mind. But very, very disappointed, such complete crap just to flog a few books.

  • Robson

    Scott’s work in analysing the issues declared in Henry’s book is outstanding and highlights exactly the merits and demerits of the author’s claims.

    I haven’t read Henry’s book and probably won’t, but the claims he makes always looked ludicrous to me. Now we know that they are.

    Two or three posters, however, seem to have lost the plot on the matter and want to compare the rugby tests we are discussing with some sort of pathetic and peurile war games scenario between NZ and Australia.

    That sort of stuff is irrelevant and stupid.

  • Jay

    Even if you accept every offence Scott has noted is correct (and we’ll leave the issue of materiality aside as without actually seeing them it’s impossible to judge), it still shows that NZ were disadvantaged.

    They committed 45 penalties and were pinged 8 times – roughly 18% of the time.
    The French committed 34 penalties and were pinged twice – about 6% of the time.

    And when you note that generally refs will pay more attention to the defensive side (no, it shouldn’t happen in a perfect world, but let’s be honest – it does happen) it does show that this match is something of an anomaly.

    If the French had been pinged 6 times (which would have been about the same ratio as the AB’s were pinged) it’s highly likely at least one of those extra 4 penalties would have been in kicking range (given how dominant the AB’s were in the territorial stats, probably more) and hey presto, a chance to win the match.

  • gerard flanagan


    Leave it be mate. You’ve already got a clown making a fool of himself and tainting All Black rugby – it still won’t get him any sales. He’ll have a pallett load of his book sitting under his house.

    Go the Roosters.


    • Jay

      Oh, the idea that it was match fixing is absurd – for a start, I don’t think any bookie/cartel would take a chance on the French. They’re so flaky that they could have shipped 3 first half tries and lost even with the dodgiest, most corrupt official in the world.

  • Robson

    Scott analysed the offences that were committed by both teams. He did not conjecture on the “chance” factor that any of them would have resulted in points.

    It is impossible to say that any range of scoring opportunities would have resulted in points, but more importantly it is impossible to say with any certainty that had all or any of the opportunities that followed been converted to points that the remaining opportunities would have presented themselves.

    Once an opportunity is converted to points it actually changes the game, simply because the ball is kicked off again at halfway, not on the 22.

    • Jay

      Sure, that’s fair.

      Regardless, leaving aside the – frankly infantile – notion of match fixing, if you accept Scott’s numbers it does show that Barnes was extraordinarily lenient on the French. Which, when combined with the missed forward pass, does kind of indicate he influenced the result.

      • Jay

        And just to clarify, I’m not saying he cost the AB’s the match. In many ways it was something of a perfect storm – Committed opponent playing above themselves, injuries to key players, poor reffing performance and of course some truly bone-headed tactics at the death.

  • NTA

    Herein lies the problem: AB fans are accustomed to getting the rub of the green. Regardless of why they get it, they still do, and accept this as their lot in life. Hence, when it goes against them (e.g. 2007) there is a general wailing and gnashing of teeth. Like when McCaw gets a yellow card – nothing has been done any differently to any time before, only now the ref has made a mistake the other way (or more likely decided to enforce the laws as they’re written) and conspiracies abound. In a way, I feel sorry for them because refs will often reinforce this; like Bryce Lawrence, who did everything in his power to hand the Chiefs game to the crusaders (or moreso to Richie), or John “three warnings” Kaplan

  • Dally M

    This guy plumbs new depths every time he opens his mouth.

    “I was at the game in Sydney,” Henry said. “It wasn’t a great game was it? The All Blacks were significantly better than the others [Australia].”

    WTF? He can’t even call us Australia or the Wallabies anymore?

  • darknessfan

    If you were able to go back in time and change one decision in a series of events could you really be sure what the effect would have been on the remainder of the series of events? How could you know for sure that a penalty attempt would have been successful? How could you know that from the lineout after a penalty the attacking team wouldn’t have dropped the ball before scoring a try? You couldn’t, so in my opinion any recreation of the score in a game is invalid.

    Make syre you remember these words after every wallabies loss.,.. your words

  • Jedi Nudist

    As an AB supporter I was there in 2007. The ABs had plenty of time for quite a few drop goal attempts in the last 10mins. Their own fault.

  • Dan Theman

    “France actually committed 32 un-penalised infringements (not 40), whereas New Zealand committed 37″

    That’s your opinion on what constitutes infringements though, & a lot of calls in Rugby are very subjective eg. should a player be penalised if the only reason he went of his feet at the breakdown is because he was pushed, tripped over, or fell with the player he was trying to clear out?

    Or how big is the gate? I might see a player doing enough to come from an onside position, while you might see a player coming in the side.

    & what about the offside line? The camera angles are poor for determining whether players are actually offside or not. That’s something you need to work out in first person while looking down the offside line.

    This subjectivity in Rugby could also be the reason Henry counted 40 infringements, think about it. You insinuating that he is lying has about as much weight as me insinuating you’re lying about the 32 & 37 you counted.

    Also, the very fact that you decided to write this article would have me believe you already had a set bias, because the only reason you did this was to try & prove Henry wrong.

    & let me tell you right now, no matter how impartial you think you are, everyone has their own perspective, everyone has their own biases (including me).

    I’ll also add that it still proves NZ were disadvantaged because 18% of NZ’s infringements (according to you) were picked up, where as only 6% of the French’s were. So I find it quite deceptive how you didn’t highlight that & rather went for an angle of NZ getting away with even more than the French. & look at that, just what I thought, it proves your set bias.

    A two point difference, add a couple more penalty chances to the AB’s, & presto, you potentially have a different result.


Scott is one of our regular contributors from the old days of G&GR. He has experience coaching Premier Grade with two clubs in Brisbane.

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