Rugby: Security consultant denies bugging All Blacks

File photo of the New Zealand All Blacks performing the "haka" ahead of a rugby Test match.
File photo of the New Zealand All Blacks performing the "haka" ahead of a rugby Test match.PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY • A security consultant accused of planting a listening device in a hotel used by the All Blacks said yesterday that he was innocent, insisting he knew nothing about the "stupid bloody bug".

Adrian Gard, who has worked with the New Zealand rugby team for several years, was charged this week with bugging their hotel before last year's Sydney Test against Australia, raising tensions between the teams. The 51-year-old has denied any involvement.

"I don't know anything about this stupid bloody bug," he told the Sydney Daily Telegraph after being charged with public mischief.

"The bug was news to me. I literally had no idea about it until I was told about it.

"I'm really annoyed about the whole thing.

"I'm just going to ride the next few months out, the truth will come out in the end.

"People who work with me can vouch for my reputation."

Gard is due in court on March 21.

The device, planted inside a chair, was found during a routine security sweep of a meeting room used by the New Zealanders before the opening Rugby Championship Test in August.

It was described as similar to that used by law enforcement and spying agencies.

The incident dominated headlines on the day of the game, which the All Blacks won 42-8.

Earlier this week, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen called the charge "bizarre and unbelievable".

"It's very hard to understand," he said. "The charged man has worked for the All Blacks, and many other organisations, for a long time and is someone who is trusted and well-respected by us."

Despite the scandal, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika on Wednesday rejected suggestions that relations between Australian and New Zealand rugby were at their lowest ebb.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 10, 2017, with the headline 'Security consultant denies bugging All Blacks'. Print Edition | Subscribe