Wayne Barnes didn't only loom ridiculously large in the minds of New Zealand sports fans, who wanted to blame him for the famous 2007 World Cup defeat to France.

A crazy British gambler has revealed how he lost millions on that quarter-final match in Cardiff, but managed to move on from obsessing about English referee Barnes.

Harry "The Dog" Findlay, from Devon, also claims he discovered via All Blacks coach Steve Hansen that many of the All Blacks who scraped past France in the 2011 final at Eden Park were suffering the flu.

Findlay, aged 55, has won more than $36m over the years, according to a new book on his life. But like any gambler, he has experienced plenty of down times.


The book venture has been accompanied by a British newspaper interview.

The Guardian, explained what Findlay went through after putting $4.56m on the All Blacks to win the 2007 World Cup.

"At half-time, with New Zealand leading 13-3, Findlay called for more champagne. He loved the All Blacks...," the story explained.

"Findlay could not curb a niggling worry that the mercurial French might drive him to the brink. Before the second half started he stepped outside for a smoke."

During this break, he placed a covering bet, to reduce his exposure to a mere $3.46m.

He wasn't the only one to go down heavily. Inspired by Findlay's constant talk, his gardener Charlie left an ice-cream tub packed with $51,000 - his life savings - to put on the All Blacks.

The last 10 minutes of the match were, not surprisingly, agony.

The Guardian writes: "Dread churned inside Findlay when France were 18-13 down. They then scored a try from a forward pass allowed by the referee, Wayne Barnes. France led 20-18 and two million pounds were torched."

Findlay on Barnes makes interesting reading though.

"Wayne Barnes? I hated him like a Kiwi for a long time. But I watched Barnes do a game this year and I'd never seen refereeing like it. He was great,"

Findlay has much better memories of the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand, when he put $420,000 on them and profited by $380,000.

"I remember going to a steam bath afterwards. I sat for 40 minutes in the steam thinking: 'F!@#$%^ hell. One penalty and I'd have lost $364,000 grand and a big chunk of my wealth.' I had a drink with (2011 assistant coach) Steve Hansen three days later and he said: 'We were f!@#$%.' No one knew this but he told me that half the team had flu that day."

Findlay's current bets include $54,700 on the Melbourne Storm to win the NRL title.