Wellington - A
sophisticated bugging device has been found in an All Blacks' hotel
meeting room ahead of their Test against Australia in Sydney, officials
confirmed on Saturday.
The device was planted inside a chair and found during a routine
sweep of the room in the lead up to the opening Rugby Championship clash
on Saturday night, with police called in to investigate.
"A listening device was found in a meeting room this week during a
routine security check," New Zealand Rugby (NZR) chief executive Steve
"The hotel immediately launched an investigation, we have informed
the Australian Rugby Union, and jointly we have now decided to hand over
the investigation to the Australian police.
"We are taking this issue very seriously, and given it will be a
police matter, it would not be prudent to go into further details."
New South Wales Police are due to address the media later on Saturday,
saying in a statement the press conference would relate to "a listening
device... located in a room at a hotel in Double Bay on Monday,
"Inquiries are continuing," police said in the statement, adding that they were only made aware of the allegation on Saturday.
An Australian Rugby Union spokesman made no comment.
But ARU chief executive Bill Pulver told the New Zealand Herald there
was no way his organisation had anything to do with the device.
"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," Pulver
was quoted as saying.
"I'm utterly disappointed the story would break on match day and
frankly, that's all I've got to say. We are going to focus on a game of
rugby that we've got tonight and we will deal with this matter after the
A spokesman for the Intercontinental Sydney Double Bay hotel where
the All Blacks were staying said management was investigating the New
Zealand team's complaint.
The device - described as similar to that used by law enforcement
and spying agencies - was found inside a chair in the hotel on Monday, a
day after the All Blacks arrived.
The foam of the seat appeared to have been deliberately and carefully
cut to make way for the surveillance device and then sewn or glued back
together to be almost undetectable, according to the New Zealand
It was discovered after team management asked the security detail looking after them in Australia to sweep the room for bugs.
The Herald said it had been told that hiding the device "was a highly
skilled and meticulous act and whoever put it there would have needed a
significant amount of time to have pulled off such an accomplished