Police investigating New Zealand's Bledisloe bombshell

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by AAP & Beth Newman

NSW Police have confirmed they are investigating a suspicious device in the All Blacks team hotel.

It has been reported the device was found early in the week and the NZRU has said an investigation had been taken to the Australian police.

The New Zealand Herald reported the device was discovered under a seat in the All Blacks’ team room earlier this week, with the news only emerging on Saturday.

The accusation has thrown a late twist on the day of the Saturday night’s Bledisloe opener, after a week in which All Blacks coach Steve Hansen was quick to heap pressure on his opponents.

Police Superintendent Brad Hodder said the NSW Police had only found out about the device on Saturday and would be looking into the lag.

"We've started an investigation as to what that device is," Hodder said.

"A delay in any investigation is always tough but we'll look at that information and treat it accordingly. Any offence is serious, we will be looking at all the avenues."

New Zealand Rugby Union CEO Steve Tew told reporters that the device may have been used to record a team meeting.

"There was an All Blacks team meeting there earlier in the week," he said.

"If the device was working properly, and we don't know that for sure, then they would have overhead that.

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

Tew also reportedly said that there was no accusations towards their opponents in regards to the device.

ARU CEO Bill Pulver was furious at any suggestion the organisation had any knowledge of the incident.

"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," Pulver said to the New Zealand Herald.

"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.

"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 rugby.

"I simply don't know the background but I'm clearly disappointed it gets out to the media on the day of a Bledisloe Cup match."

The All Blacks have put these kinds of suggestions out before, but never found any actual evidence of spies.

After their 1995 World Cup final loss, the All Blacks pointed the finger at a South African waitress for poisoning their players, while assistant coach Ian Foster spoke of the high risk of opponents spying on them at last year’s World Cup.

"Some people will chase information however they can," Foster said at the time.

"I don't think it's new to the game. It's unfortunate and hopefully it's not happening, but like I said we're like everyone else and we'll take precautions."