Rugby Australia insisted on Friday it has seen no evidence of match-fixing and refuted claims that it launched a “top secret” probe into a suspect Wallabies Test several years ago.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Friday that high-ranking sports officials had “serious doubts” about the behaviour of at least three unnamed Australian players in the game.
Citing one of the unnamed officials, it said the concern surrounded a match Australia was strongly favoured to win, with the opposition at highly attractive odds with several betting agencies.
It said the Wallabies lost following numerous unusual incidents, including dubious forward passes, easy tackles being missed, confounding knock-ons and easy midfield kicks going nowhere near their target.
The newspaper said the incidents prompted a “top-secret” investigation in which team officials were questioned and an examination was made of any unusual betting trends on the match.
It added that the concern were exacerbated by the “close links” between several players and a controversial horse racing identity, and that the officials wanted the issue re-examined.
“This issue has to again be looked into,” one official told the newspaper.
“Our suspicions were originally raised due to the very strange mistakes made by usually reliable Australian players during that game. Some errors are glaring,” the official was quoted as saying.
“It’s like watching Tiger Woods miss a two-inch putt, over and over again. Very odd.”
But Rugby Australia dismissed the allegations.
“A headline attached to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald today suggested Rugby Australia had investigated a Wallabies Test match ‘from several years ago’ in relation to the possibility of match fixing,” it said in a statement.
“Rugby Australia wishes to confirm it has seen no evidence in regards to inappropriate betting activity or match-fixing and has no record of any such investigation occurring in the past.
“Rugby Australia takes any allegation of match-fixing very seriously and would always thoroughly investigate should any person or entity ever provide information to the Integrity Unit,” it added.