7 Feb 2017

All Blacks baffled after contractor charged over hotel bug

10:25 pm on 7 February 2017

The All Blacks are baffled that their own security consultant has been charged in connection with installing a listening device in their meeting room at the team's Sydney hotel last year.

Australia v New Zealand, Test Match Rugby. Played at ANZ Stadium, Sydney Australia on Saturday 20 August 2016. C

The bug was found as the All Blacks prepared to take on Australia in Sydney. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The device - described as similar to that used by law enforcement and spy agencies - was found inside a chair during a routine security search of the team's meeting room at the Intercontinental Hotel at Double Bay ahead of a Bledisloe Cup match against Australia last year.

ABC reported the 51-year-old accused of planting the device, Adrian Gard, was understood to be a consultant for BGI Security, which was contracted by the All Blacks during their Bledisloe Cup campaign last year.

New South Wales police have charged him with public mischief.

BGI security director Ashley Gard said he was unaware of the charges against Mr Gard until reporters called him for comment this evening.

In a statement, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said the charge was hard to understand.

"Frankly, the charge seems bizarre and unbelievable."

Mr Hansen said the man had worked for the All Blacks, and many other organisations, for a long time and was trusted and well respected by them.

"However, as with all cases before the courts, there has to be a due process that takes place and it is not right or proper for us to make any further comment as this could jeopardise the outcome of the case."

Police said the man would appear in court in March.

Australian Rugby Union (ARU) chief executive Bill Pulver said the Wallabies and the ARU had never been accused of wrongdoing and commended the NSW Police for pursuing the matter.

"The aspect that still leaves a bitter taste out of this whole affair is that the discovery of the device was reported publicly on game day, when it is understood that the alleged discovery of the device occurred much earlier in the week leading up to the Test match," he said.

"Clearly the media attention which resulted from it was a distraction that neither team needed on the morning of a very important Test match."

The All Blacks dismantled the Wallabies 42-8, just 12 hours after the details of the listening device emerged.

The world champions scored six tries, recording their biggest win over the Wallabies on Australian soil in 113 years.

- ABC / RNZ

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