All Blacks Respond To One Of Their Own Being Charged With Bugging Team Hotel Before Wallabies Clash
This is a strange one.
It’s been a difficult few days for the All Blacks. Yesterday the New Zealand Rugby Union revealed that lock Patrick Tuipulotu has been suspended following a positive drugs test, and now one of their own has been charged with bugging their team hotel.
The 51-year-old man has been charged by police in relation to the listening device which was found in the All Blacks’ hotel room during the lead-up to their Bledisloe Cup opener with the Wallabies in Sydney last year. The man, who was a security consultant reportedly working for the All Blacks at the time of the incident, has been charged with public mischief and will appear in Waverly Local court in March.
A listening bug, the type used by law enforcement agencies, was discovered last August in the All Blacks’ meeting room at Sydney’s Intercontinental Hotel in Double Bay, creating instant headlines in the rugby world at the time.
Steve Hansen has now released a statement in which he says that he finds the incident hard to understand.
Frankly, the charge seems bizarre and unbelievable. It’s very hard to understand. 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.
However, as with all cases before the courts, there has to be a due process that takes place and it is not right or proper for us to make any further comment as this could jeopardise the outcome of the case.
Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver, who denied any wrongdoing and involvement on the part of his organisation at the time of the incident, was quick to praise NSW Police after the charge was laid on Tuesday.
On behalf of the ARU, I commend the NSW Police for their ongoing pursuit of this matter and for providing closure with a charge being laid against an individual today.
The aspect that still leaves a bitter taste out of this whole affair is that the discovery of the device was reported publicly on game day, when it is understood that the alleged discovery of the device occurred much earlier in the week leading up to the test match.
Clearly the media attention which resulted from it was a distraction that neither team needed on the morning of a very important test match.
The ARU and the Wallabies were never accused of any wrongdoing, however it was still important that this matter reached a conclusion to provide complete reassurance to all fans that the organisation and the team had no part in any of this.
There may be some questions that remain but certainly today’s news is welcome news that an individual has been called to account over this incident.
We definitely haven’t heard the last of this.