The etching on the Webb Ellis Cup will always say South Africa won the title in 1995 but the spectre of whether the All Blacks were poisoned on the eve of that match will not go away.

All Blacks coach Laurie Mains was adamant afterwards his side, who were effected in their 15-12 extra-time defeat to the Springboks, were poisoned by a waitress who has become known as 'Suzie'. He even hired a private investigator to try to get to the bottom of the matter.

1995 Rugby World Cup: The coming of Jonah Lomu

"My wife knew a private investigator in South Africa and, after we came home, we contacted him and asked him to see what he could find out, if anything, because I knew all the doors would be shut," Mains recalled recently. "He had moderate success and did establish a black lady had been employed by the hotel two days before we arrived and that day after we got sick, she disappeared completely."

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In a range of video interviews with Wynne Gray for nzherald.co.nz and a written series in The NZ Herald , the All Blacks campaign manager Brian Lochore, manager Colin Meads, coach Laurie Mains, team Dr Mike Bowen, captain Sean Fitzpatrick, Springbok Joel Stransky and referee Ed Morrison give us their insights into events surrounding the 1995 RWC.

Several months later, Mains gets word from financial contacts in London bookmakers are behind the incident. He doesn't get much further and does not want the immense disappointment to infest his life.

"I would have loved to have won that World Cup for New Zealand rugby but it wasn't to be," he said.

Everything had been on track until two days before the final when Mains and manager Colin Meads began to feel unwell when out at dinner with those not playing in the final. When they got back to the hotel, they found Richard Loe being ill in the garden and in the foyer Zinzan Brooke does not have a good message about others.

Half the team are vomiting and have diarrhoea. The urns of tea and coffee the team drank from at lunch are fingered later as the source of the illness.

Team doctor Mike Bowen recalls how Mains felt they "might be tampered with and as it turned out, he was absolutely right".

In a range of video interviews with Wynne Gray for nzherald.co.nz and a written series in The NZ Herald , the All Blacks campaign manager Brian Lochore, manager Colin Meads, coach Laurie Mains, team Dr Mike Bowen, captain Sean Fitzpatrick, Springbok Joel Stransky and referee Ed Morrison give us their insights into events surrounding the 1995 RWC.

The next day the All Black management hold a meeting in Meads room because he is too ill to move far. They talk about calling off the match but decide to keep the issue quiet.
"I was the one who said we don't have to tell anyone," Mains says. "I didn't want South Africa to know we were crook. It was the worst thing I did."

Bowen manages the emergency on his own which he rates as the most stressful in his lengthy sports medicine career. There were no extra All Blacks medical staff and they did not want to alert their rivals to their plight.

"It was unlikely to have been something that occurred incidentally or without some provocation but I have no way of proving that was the case," Bowen said.
Campaign manager Brian Lochore recalls the dinner when they might have been poisoned.

"I was just going into the dining room and they said, 'no, no, the All Blacks are in this room over here'. I went, 'I thought we were having our meal over here' and they said, 'no, no, there's a room over here for the All Blacks' and I thought that was strange."

On the morning of the final, the All Blacks are better but lack energy and at altitude that hurt.

In a range of video interviews with Wynne Gray for nzherald.co.nz and a written series in The NZ Herald , the All Blacks campaign manager Brian Lochore, manager Colin Meads, coach Laurie Mains, team Dr Mike Bowen, captain Sean Fitzpatrick, Springbok Joel Stransky and referee Ed Morrison give us their insights into events surrounding the 1995 RWC.

"If you had asked me what the score was going to be on the Saturday morning I thought about 30-0 to South Africa, Lochore said.

"I don't think any of them will ever get over it because, if you can't play to the best of your ability on any given day because of some outside influence - and I'm not pointing the finger at anyone - it's always going to bug you forever."

During the game, Lochore notices the All Blacks are trying to create things too quickly, as if they cannot concentrate or feel they are not going to last. It is a crushing and unsatisfying end to so much hard work.

As he takes his seat among the rising volume of noise at Ellis Park, Mains ponders the injustice. His All Black troops give him some hope.

"Every one of those players and many were fearfully ill during that game, showed great courage. I had high regard for them anyway but what they did in that game stepped them up further in my admiration," he says.

In a range of video interviews with Wynne Gray for nzherald.co.nz and a written series in The NZ Herald , the All Blacks campaign manager Brian Lochore, manager Colin Meads, coach Laurie Mains, team Dr Mike Bowen, captain Sean Fitzpatrick, Springbok Joel Stransky and referee Ed Morrison give us their insights into events surrounding the 1995 RWC.

Referee Ed Morrison has few clues about the All Blacks drama. He wonders why Steve McDowall is sweating profusely after a few scrums and then watches Jeff Wilson being sick but it is only after the test, in conversation with Mains, he discovers the situation.

"Credit to Sean Fitzpatrick he never mentioned it or made any excuses or brought it to my attention and I will always be grateful for that," Morrison recalls.

Mains would probably still love to find out exactly what happened but, equally, has tried to let go.

"If you let this sit inside you and you let setbacks and disappointments sit with you, it will eat you up," he said. "But I'm not one of those people."