New Zealanders were scrambling to do damage control, following claims that the All Blacks were taking steroid in the 1990s.
Jack Ralston, who was New Zealand Rugby Union's head of sales and marketing between 1997 and 1999, made the allegation in his yet-to-be-released biography, The Sports Insider, according to a report in The Press newspaper.
"People might be stunned by this but I know at least two All Blacks in the 1990s who responded to demands that they bulk up by taking steroids," the newspaper quoted Ralston as having said in his book.
Ralston would not name the two players, who he said had told him in confidence, but said they were "smaller guys who needed to put on muscle and bulk who were under pressure".
He said the players may now feel they can speak publicly about taking the performance enhancing substances.
However, the accusations ruffled a few feathers, with former All Black prop Craig Dowd "livid" at the claims.
Dowd agrees with a call of former captain Taine Randell, who said it is gutless not to name names.
"He has cast aspersion on a lot of people and I can say that during my time with the team I saw none of that," Randell said.
Dowd said he never saw anything suggesting players were taking steroids.
Former All Black coach John Hart said also he had never heard of All Blacks taking steroids, adding: "It would surprise me greatly."
"It's very easy to make those comments. From my knowledge, [there was] none at all."
Randell echoed Hart's comments and turned the screws on Ralston.
"I know Jack," he said.
"He is a good man. But for him to come out with those comments and not name names is gutless. He has cast aspersion on a lot of people and I can say that during my time with the team I saw none of that."
John Mayhew, a former All Black team doctor, said if Ralston has evidence of All Blacks using steroids he needs to make it public.
Mayhew was the All Black doctors over that period and said he is certainly not aware of players using steroids.
He said there was extensive drug testing undertaken and if Ralston has evidence of steroid use he needs to make it public as it casts a slur over all players that played in that era.
Ralston has also coached triathlete Hamish Carter, worked for Netball New Zealand and with Arthur Lydiard.
He's also worked for Nike, alongside international stars including Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan and Carl Lewis.
The Sports Insider is due to be released for sale next week.
Ralston defended his book and said he stood by the claims.
"I am saddened that Taine is upset and he would be the last person I would point the finger at as he was big," he said.
"It was the smaller guys who needed to put on muscle and bulk who were under pressure and for rugby to think this did not go on is silly. They have their heads buried in the soil."
He added he "never saw" any All Black ingest steroids.
"But at least two confided in me they had bowed to the pressure to bulk up and were taking them" and that they told him in confidence and he therefore declined when again pressed to name names.
"But with the passing of time they may now feel as if they are in a position to speak about it publicly."
The NZRU did not respond to the accusation.
The book paints an unflattering picture of several high profile sports identities, including Hart, who asked Ralston to do mental skills work with the All Blacks before the world cup.
Ralston also writes he was phoned by the then NZRU chairman after the All Blacks lost to France in the 1999 semifinal and asked to speak to the players "to keep them motivated" as Hart was "visibly deflated" after the defeat.
Other 90s All Blacks declined to comment on the record but all were upset at Ralston's accusation.
Sources: The Press, Fairfax Media, Radio New Zealand, Herald Online & Newstalk ZB
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