Sydney - The New Zealand All Blacks have
denied they are paranoid about being spied on amid revelations they routinely
sweep hotel rooms for listening devices, reports said on Monday.
An Australian police investigation is
underway after the All Blacks said they had uncovered a device in their Sydney
hotel ahead of the Rugby Championship opener on Saturday.
It was planted inside a chair and found
during a security sweep of a meeting room in the lead-up to the Test, won by
the All Blacks 42-8.
They reportedly suspected being bugged
during the World Cup in England last year too, but lacked the technology to confirm
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen, who is a
former policeman, admitted post-match that the team routinely sweep hotel rooms
for bugging devices.
All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster
scoffed at claims the world champions were paranoid.
"It's interesting you use the word
paranoia. You can kick that word for touch," Foster told The Australian
"All teams are protective of the way
they want to go about things. That is something we have done occasionally and
for obvious reasons.
"It has shocked everyone. We
understand a few mixed emotions. It's not great for the game, but it's happened
and it's out of our hands now. We'll just move forward."
New Zealand were also under fire on Monday
for not notifying police until five days after first detecting the listening
Former International Cricket Council (ICC)
chief executive Malcolm Speed said the delay before police were informed was
"far from ideal" from an anti-corruption perspective.
"If one of the possibilities is that
it's linked to betting or corruption, it's less than ideal that it wasn't
reported immediately," Speed told Fairfax Media.
"In cricket we were alert to issues
like this and asked to report it to the local authorities immediately."
Hansen said there was nothing untoward about
how long it took New Zealand Rugby to go to the police.
"The reason we didn't go there
straight away is because we went through a process with the hotel and then our
CEO (Steve Tew) was away at the Rio Olympics," Hansen told reporters.
"He arrived and he needed to be spoken
to and be fully briefed. Once he was fully briefed he said we need to take this
to the police."
Police were apparently the last to know
when they were finally told on Saturday morning after media had reported the
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said the
bugging was not a distraction for Australia, despite their six-try belting.
"It didn't unsettle me," Cheika
said. "They didn't accuse us of doing it. It's got nothing to do with us
and wouldn't have unsettled us.
"There's no excuse-making. I'm not
sure why it came out on game day when it was done on Monday. It had no material
effect on the game."
The Wallabies did not sweep hotel rooms for
listening devices, he added.
"We don't do that. If that's their
thing, that's up to them."