World Cup-winning Springbok captain Francois Pienaar says controversy around claims the All Blacks were deliberately food poisoned in the build-up to the 1995 World Cup final will forever live on despite no evidence to prove them.

The All Blacks dominated all-comers on their way to the final against hosts South Africa.

But a severe illness that swept through the team two days out from the clash left many weakened. Despite the widespread sickness, the All Blacks still pushed the Boks hard, eventually losing 15-12 in extra time.

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In an article in investment advisor Forsyth Barr's Rugby and Markets publication, Pienaar has reopened old wounds, which include members of the All Black playing and off-field staff adamantly believing the team was deliberately poisoned.

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"There was so much controversy you know, there were investigators appointed that couldn't find anything," he said.

"I'm just saying that if these people were poisoned and then can go into extra time and play at that level and at that pace then it's quite impressive.

Former Springbok captain Francois Pienaar says no proof the All Blacks were deliberately poisoned in 1995, but controversy will remain. Photo / Getty Images
Former Springbok captain Francois Pienaar says no proof the All Blacks were deliberately poisoned in 1995, but controversy will remain. Photo / Getty Images

"I think it will always be a controversial topic."

He added that he had become "very close" to Jonah Lomu after the 1995 World Cup, and Lomu never mentioned that there had been anything "that bothered him".

In June 2018, a former top South African police commander who was a member of the All Blacks' security detail during the World Cup said he emphatically believed the Laurie Mains-coached team was deliberately poisoned.

"Do I think it was intentional? Absolutely," Rory Steyn told SuperSport.

He believed the blame lay with betting syndicates and said that the team management's policy of ensuring players ate separately from other guests at their hotel in Johannesburg had made them "easier to target".

"I believe it was the water that was got at," he said.

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"I don't think it was the food, I think it was the coffee and the tea and possibly even the drinking water."

Springboks celebrate, while pain sets in for the All Blacks, after the 1995 Rugby World Cup final. New Zealand Herald photograph
Springboks celebrate, while pain sets in for the All Blacks, after the 1995 Rugby World Cup final. New Zealand Herald photograph

The All Blacks kept the illness which swept through two-thirds of the squad secret until after the final.

Kiwi viewers first caught of glimpse of the state of some of the players' health when star right wing Jeff Wilson was captured by a TV camera vomiting on the sidelines during the tense final.

In his earlier interview with South African media, Steyn described the scenes at the team hotel.

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"It looked like something out of Saving Private Ryan," he said.

"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".

While Steyn remains adamant the All Blacks were deliberately poisoned, the side's manager – the late Sir Colin Meads – believed the culprit had been off milk.

Meads was one of the squad's sickest members and revealed he had drunk a large amount of milk as part of a bid to recover from a big night out with managers from other World Cup teams.

He said in 2008 that after drinking several "big glasses" of milk he began to feel unwell.