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The Qantas Wallabies have swatted away the clumsy spying theory of British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland as the blockbuster tour hots up with intrigue a fortnight before the first Test.
Gatland seemed intent on lobbing a grenade into the Australian camp by painting the picture of Lions' training and games being alive with video cameras and shady unidentified onlookers.
It was a calculated piece of gamesmanship as he threw into the same melting pot a member of the public shooting footage, which Lions staff asked to be deleted, with legal filming practices at the midweek Lions-Western Force match in Perth.
When asked an innocuous question about security on tour during his post-match interview following a resolute 22-12 win over the adventurous Queensland Reds on Saturday night in Brisbane, Gatland stirred the pot.
"We chased someone away with a video last week," Gatland said.
"We know that last week, the Australian side were up there (in Perth), videoing us from behind the pitch and doing individual videos on the players as well. That's just part of it.
"We've got a completely new set of calls that we'll introduce at some stage if they have been listening to us. We don't get too paranoid about that."
The Wallabies video analyst was at the Force-Lions clash last Tuesday shooting vision from different angles than would have been provided by simply recycling TV footage.
It is a totally legal practice.
"We flatly deny that anyone connected to the Wallabies has been involved in filming or watching the Lions at training," a Wallabies spokesman said.
On Sunday, Gatland distanced himself from the drama he had created when asked if was worried about prying eyes at training sessions.
You can spy on the British & Irish Lions by watching every match of their tour of Australia LIVE and in HIGH DEFINITION on Fox Sports.
"No, no, no...I didn't say that at all," Gatland said.
"I said that the Australian team were videoing us in our game (in Perth) from the end of the field which they are perfectly entitled to do.
"We threw some punter out of training (at nib Stadium) who was videoing us, that was all.
"There's no allegations of spying. There's no issue with them (the Wallabies) doing that (with match footage). There were no spy allegations.
"It's part of preparing properly.
"I don't get paranoid about people watching training and videoing and stuff."
The person "chased away" at training at nib Stadium in Perth was a member of the public who complied when asked to have his vision deleted.
In Lions team news, centre Brian O'Driscoll will skipper the Lions against the Combined Country side in Newcastle on Tuesday night.
Some tickets are still available for this third match of the DHL Australia 2013 Lions Tour. To get your tickets CLICK HERE.
Leading Irish winger Tommy Bowe underwent surgery on a broken right hand today which is certain to rule him out of Test calculations.
Lions: Sean Maitland, Alex Cuthbert, Brian O'Driscoll (capt), Jamie Roberts, George North, Stuart Hogg, Conor Murray; Jamie Heaslip, Justin Tipuric, Sean O'Brien; Ian Evans, Richie Gray, Dan Cole, Richard Hibbard, Alex Corbisiero. Res: Rory Best, Ryan Grant, Matt Stevens, Alun Wyn Jones, Toby Faletau, Mike Phillips, Jonathan Davies, Leigh Halfpenny.
Read more: http://www.foxsports.com.au/rugby/british-and-irish-lions-coach-warren-gatland-accuses-wallabies-staff-of-spying-on-training/story-fn5k35fo-1226660785575#ixzz2VgFQ4RNY