Former Mandela bodyguard claims New Zealand were "poisoned" ahead of 1995 World Cup Final

South Africa beat the All Blacks in the match after extra-time

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Picture by: / AP/Press Association Images

It is a story that has grown legs over the past 20 years. Were New Zealand's players poisoned before their Rugby World Cup Final in 1995 against hosts South Africa?

According to a former bodyguard of Nelson Mandela, it looks like they may have been. Rory Steyn, who at the time was helping with security, claimed the team's water may have been poisoned before the game.

South Africa won the final 15-12 in the final, after going into the game as heavy favourites. It was their first World Cup triumph, and helped begin to unite the nation in the post-Apartheid era.

Speaking to the New Zealand Herald, Steyn revealed that the All Blacks were, in his eyes the victims of a betting syndicate before the final.

"A decision was taken within team management that that wasn't going to happen in that week leading up to the final. The guys wanted their own separate dining area, and I said that makes it easier to target the people, I didn't think it was a good idea."

"They were poisoned and they got very sick. About two-thirds got properly sick on the Thursday night before the final."

"I think it was probably the water. The coffee and the tea and possibly the drinking water that it was gotten to."

Steyn confirmed that he never believed anyone in South African rugby was involved in the poisoning as they couldn't be "that evil". Of course, the game will never be replayed but it remains an interesting story that will live in folklore.