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All Blacks employee charged over hotel bug

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/02/2017

The All Blacks are baffled their own security consultant has been charged with installing a listening device in their meeting room at the team's Sydney hotel in 2016.

The bug was discovered embedded in a chair in the room at Double Bay's InterContinental in August before New Zealand's Bledisloe Cup clash with Australia.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says the charge seems "bizarre and unbelievable".

""It's very hard to understand," he said in a statement.

"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."

The 51-year-old has been charged with public mischief and will appear in Waverley Local Court on March 21.

"At the time of the alleged offence, the man was employed as a security consultant," NSW Police said in a statement on Tuesday.

The device was found on Monday August 15 last year during a routine security check but wasn't reported to police until the Saturday, hours before the Bledisloe Cup opener in Sydney which the All Blacks won 42-8.

Hansen said at the time All Blacks management decided it was best to wait for NZRU chief Steve Tew to arrive in Sydney from the Rio Olympics before taking the matter further.

Australian Rugby Union chief executive Bill Pulver was quick to commend NSW Police for "providing closure with a charge being laid".

"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," Mr Pulver said in a statement.

"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."

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