The evidence is all the more ironic as it comes the week after Haden and the Fijian team he now coaches refused to be part of Will Carling's aborted testimonial "on moral grounds". Haden speaks openly of the pre- planned conspiracy to con the English referee Roger Quittenton into giving the crucial penalty which denied Wales.
The admission comes on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the incident which all of Wales is convinced robbed the national side of only their fourth ever victory over the All Blacks - and possibly kick-started the country's rugby decline. Writing in the November issue of Rugby News, Haden reveals: "The 'plot' was formulated during the white-hot lead-up to the Welsh Test. The referee that November afternoon was Roger Quittenton of England. He had whistled other All Blacks matches I had played in and had always acquitted himself well. But in the cauldron that is the Arms Park during a Wales-New Zealand match, even Quittenton was struggling.
"With Wales in front by 12-10, I knew there could only be a minute or so left. I went to Frank Oliver, my locking partner... and told him the plan in four words: 'I'm going to dive'."
Sure enough, Haden catapulted out of the line-out as the Wales hooker Bobby Windsor threw in. Quittenton gave a penalty and Brian McKechnie landed the winning points.
Quittenton insists that he penalised a line-out barge by the Wales lock Geoff Wheel and was not conned by Haden, telling Rugby News: "Haden's perception is that his dive secured the penalty. That is a load of rubbish."Reuse content