Meads lifts lid on Suzie myth
June 11, 2008
Colin Meads has revealed why the All Blacks' 1995 Rugby World Cup final team were sick at the time of the final.
In short Meads has laid the blame for the food poisoning which ruined the campaign on milk.
Meads was the manager of the side at the time and he has lifted the lid on his beliefs following news that a star-studded cast is set to headline a big-budget movie on the Springboks' historic win on home soil.
The movie, titled Play The Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that made a Nation, will be directed by Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood and Matt Damon will play Springbok World Cup-winning captain Francois Pienaar. Morgan Freeman will play South African president Nelson Mandela.
The All Blacks lost the final 15-12 after Springbok first-five Joel Stransky kicking the match-winning dropped goal in extra time.
It was something of a miracle that the All Blacks lasted through extra time as the majority of the side succumbing to severe food poisoning 48 hours from the final.
Since that time there have been plenty of conspiracy theories, including that either chili sauce, tea, chicken burgers or prawns served to the team were poisoned by a waitress known as 'Suzie'.
But Meads laid the blame squarely at tainted milk.
"I put it down to the milk, that was my call," Meads told Yahoo!Xtra.
"I had a big night the night before. The South African Rugby Union was shouting all the managers.
"And being Colin Meads, I thought I had to hold up my end and out-do all the other managers. Those were the ones that were out of the tournament but left there (in South Africa) still.
"And we had a big night out on the Wednesday night.
"I was feeling not too fit the next day. And often when you are feeling like that you have a couple of glasses of milk that puts you right.
"So at lunchtime I had a couple of these big glasses of milk. And I reckon that is what did us, it was in the milk.
"That is my theory. But no-one else believes me."
When asked for his thoughts on the Suzie theory, Meads said: "Well, you just don't know.
"Suzie is just a fictitious person as far as I was concerned. I don't think anyone was called Suzie."
Meads added that he felt the All Black's hopes of winning a second Rugby World Cup were wrecked by the mass outbreak of food poisoning.
The All Blacks have only appeared in two finals to date. In 1987 they won (in New Zealand) and in 1995 they lost to South Africa (in South Africa).
"There was obviously something terribly wrong with the team," Meads said.
"We were definitely (affected), whether it was poison or bad luck.
"There was definitely something in the food. Four of the boys, who shall be nameless, didn't have a meal at lunch-time.
"They snuck away and might have had something else, like Kentucky Fried Chicken, and none of those four got crook.
"So it was something in the drink or food.
"There were 36 of us in the tour party altogether. And out of the 36, I think 30 or 31 went down or were sick at some time.
"I myself was crook and I don't normally get very crook.
"The Thursday I went down ate and at about 3am, got the doctor, got out of bed, got to the toilet and crouched on the floor. It knocked me around."
All Black fans were kept in the dark about the food poisoning which had ripped through the team and the first they saw or heard about it was in the final when images were broadcast of star wing Jeff Wilson buckled over on the sideline vomiting after being replaced.
Meads said in hindsight the decision to keep things quiet was the wrong one to make.
"It was my call," he said.
"We had a meeting on the Friday morning in my room and I said, 'We don't tell anyone. Tell the players not to tell anyone back home'.
"We didn't want anyone to know we were crook. We didn't want South Africa knowing that we were crook.
"And that is one that I regret. We should have let people know."