The Australian security consultant charged after the discovery of a listening device at the All Blacks’ hotel in Sydney has reportedly denied any involvement in its placement.
Adrian Gard, a 51-year-old director of the security company Bodyguards International who has been employed by the NZRU for their trips to Australia for the last decade, has denied any wrongdoing.
“I don’t know anything about this stupid bloody bug,” he told News Limited. “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 to tell you the truth. I’m just going to ride the next few months out, the truth will come out in the end.”
Gard is due to appear in Sydney’s Waverley District Court on March 21 to answer a charge of public mischief. The charge does not imply Gard placed the listening device but he is alleged to have misled police during their investigation.
The device was discovered in a chair in the team room of the All Blacks’ hotel prior to their Bledisloe Cup test against Australia in Sydney last August.
At the time the innuendo was the Wallabies were involved in the incident, but coach Michael Cheika says he is not expecting an apology from the NZRU.
“An apology to us? No, I’m not expecting anything like that, I don’t think that’s necessary,” Cheika said on Wednesday.
“(The NZRU) made their call, and now that’s all there is to it.
“I knew one thing was definite, obviously the inferences that we were involved – I know that was ridiculous.
“It’s not nice, to have to answer questions from police and stuff like that about something you’ve got absolutely nothing to do with.
“I’ll be interested to see what happens next, but it’s nothing that’s going to stick in my mind for too long.”
The scandal only came to light on the morning of the second Bledisloe Cup Test, which New Zealand won 42-8 – despite the device being discovered by the NZRU at the beginning of the week.
That, along with suggestions the Wallabies could have been responsible, has always irked the Australian Rugby Union, who have strenuously denied any involvement.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen described the charge as “bizarre” and “hard to understand”.
For Cheika the incident is water under a bridge.
He also rejected talk in the New Zealand press that All Blacks-Wallabies relations were now shot.
“It’s a shame that’s the situation, but at the end of the day, I don’t see it that there’s any great all-time low or anything like that.
“We’re opponents in many ways and right now the only people who have got to improve in that respect are us, on the field.
“It doesn’t matter about off the field – relations can be wherever they are.”