All Blacks’ meeting room ‘bugged’ ahead of Australia game

Report of sophisitcated listening device found in foam of chair in Sydney hotel

New Zealand Rugby says a Sydney hotel room where the All Blacks held meetings to discuss tactics was bugged before their Bledisloe Cup opener against Australia. The listening device was reportedly planted inside a chair.

 

The New Zealand All Blacks’ team meeting room in an Australian hotel was bugged with a listening device this week, according to reports.

The device was found at InterContinental Hotel in Sydney on Monday but only reported to authorities on Saturday ahead of the two sides playing the opening match of the Bledisloe Cup, according to a report in the New Zealand Herald.

“There was an All Blacks team meeting there earlier in the week. If the device was working properly, and we don’t know that for sure, then they would have overhead that,” said Steve Tew, chief executive of New Zealand Rugby.

“But we don’t think it’s a catastrophic issue for the game tonight. We’re going to get on with it.”

According to the report, the device is the same type used by “law enforcement and spying agencies”. It was found embedded in the foam of a chair during a security inspection.

Mr Tew’s counterpart at the Australian Rugby Union, Bill Pulver, said he was “just as shocked” as Mr Tew.

“Look, I have literally just seen a note from Steve Tew telling me about this and a brief statement they (New Zealand Rugby) are about to put out which confirms that they found a listening device and the two unions have agreed to hand the matter over to the police,” Mr Pulver said.

“Mate, of course (the ARU is not involved). It is completely ludicrous. I just think it’s a ludicrous concept that there are listening devices being placed in team rooms. I don’t know how that could happen.”

Mr Pulver regretted that the issue arose so close to the scheduled match.

“I’m utterly disappointed the story would break on match day and frankly, that’s all I’ve got to say,” he said.

New Zealand Rugby and the Australian Rugby Union made the “joint decision” to hand over the investigation to police, while the hotel will also conduct its own inquiry, according to the report.

Speaking at a police press conference on Friday, Supt Brad Hodder addressed the difficulties with the five-day delay in reporting the incident: “Any delay in any investigation’s always tough but we’ll look at that information.”

“We will be looking at all the avenues and what part of the legislation it comes under, in particular . . . we’ll look at telecommunications offences and the Devices Listening Act,” he said.

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