Details of All Blacks' 1995 World Cup poisoning revealed
A former South African policeman has revealed details about the illness that plagued the All Blacks ahead of the 1995 World Cup final.
Rory Steyn, a former bodyguard of Nelson Mandela, appeared on Supersport’s The Dan Nicholl Show to discuss the infamous saga 23 years after its occurrence.
Before getting in to his story, Steyn cleared up some common misconceptions.
“They were not poisoned the night before the final, which as we all know was the 24th of June 1995,” Steyn said.
“On the Thursday night before, those guys got horribly sick. About two thirds of the squad.
“There was projectile vomiting and it included one of the South African contingent assigned to the All Blacks.”
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Steyn then revealed when the signs of sickness first showed.
“I was sitting in the movies with a bunch of them, when big Richard Loe said to me, ‘Rory, I need to go back to the hotel.”
“I said, ‘Loey, there’s still half an hour left’. He said ‘I need to go now.’
Steyn decided to check out the other cinemas in the complex. Approaching the next set of doors, Steyn said they opened before he could enter, and “out came Jeff Wilson clutching his stomach”.
“I looked at him and I said, ‘Goldie, you too?,” Steyn recalled.
Steyn said they had to stop on the way back to the hotel from the cinema and that players didn’t make it back to the hotel before vomiting.
“The door flew open halfway down the road, they were spewing all over the road”.
When Steyn finally got them back to the hotel he said “it looked like something out of ‘Saving Private Ryan.”
“There were guys lying on the floor outside the doctor’s room down the passage, and him (the doctor) and the physio and the medic were administering electrolytes and injections.”
“Despite the circumstances, the New Zealand team as a group decided not to mention the fact they had suffered from the food poisoning.
“It wasn’t until after the final was South Africa won 15-12 that news of the team’s illness was released.
“In a press conference following the game, a New Zealand journalist asked the question of the All Blacks and they admitted that a number of the squad had fallen “incredibly sick”.
“Do I think it was intentional? Absolutely. Do I think South African Rugby was involved? Absolutely not,” Steyn said.
Steyn believes that betting syndicates were responsible for the poisoning. The All Blacks lost the Johannesburg final 15-12, with winger Jeff Wilson the worst affected by the poisoning after leaving the match at half time.
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