New Zealand Rugby says a listening device was found in a room used for team meetings ahead of its Rugby Championship test against Australia and the matter has been referred to Australian police.
In a statement issued Saturday, New Zealand Rugby confirmed media reports which said a device similar to that used by law enforcement and spy agencies was found secreted in a chair in the All Blacks’ team room which was being used for sensitive tactical and planning discussions ahead of Saturday’s test against Australia, which New Zealand later won 42-8.
NZR chief executive Steve Tew said “we are taking the issue very seriously and, given it will be a police matter, it would not be prudent to go into further details.”
The hotel has also launched an investigation.
The New Zealand Herald said the foam of a seat appeared to have been deliberately and carefully cut away to make room for the surveillance device which was almost undetectable. It said the placement of the device was “a highly skilled and meticulous act.”
The All Blacks suspected their team rooms were bugged during last year’s Rugby World Cup in England but did not have the equipment necessary to detect listening devices.
In Sydney, the team used high-level equipment to detect surveillance devices but the discovery was not made until an important team meeting had already been held.
Speaking after New Zealand’s 34-point victory over Australia on Saturday evening, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said the incident had not been a distraction for his team.
“It’s not something that we wanted, but it happened and it’s like an injury, you have to deal with it and it’s not in your control — but how you react is in your control,” Hansen said. “Lots of people are speculating about who’s done it and who hasn’t, and I don’t think that’s fair because no one knows who’s done it and there’s obviously plenty of people who can do it,” said Hansen.
“I haven’t even seen the device, I wasn’t too bothered about it. I had a team to prepare and we’ve just got on with it.”
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