Gregor Paul is the Herald on Sunday's rugby writer

All Blacks bugging: All Blacks coach Steve Hansen explains why it took so long to report incident

• Listening device found in team meeting room at All Blacks' hotel
• All Blacks coach Steve Hansen explains delay in reporting bug to police
• Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says device 'nothing to do with them'
• A police investigation is underway and hotel has launched own inquiry
• Bug may have recorded team meeting, says NZ Rugby boss Steve Tew
• Aussie rugby boss is "utterly disappointed" media broke story "on match day"
• ARU categorically denies involvement
• Police boss questions delay in discovery being relayed to authorities
• Wallaby great says revelation is "blight on classic contest"

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has explained why it took five days for New Zealand Rugby to come forward about the alleged bugging of the world champions' meeting room in Sydney.

Police are investigating the delay after a listening device was found on Monday hidden in a chair at the Intercontinental hotel in Double Bay during a routine security check.

It wasn't reported to police until Saturday, hours before the All Blacks' Bledisloe Cup opener against the Wallabies at ANZ Stadium.

Superintendent Brad Hodder said "any delay in any investigation's always tough but we'll look at that information".

Hansen said 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.

"The reason that we didn't go there straight away was because we went through a process with the hotel and our CEO was away at the Olympics," Hansen said after the All Blacks beat the Wallabies 42-8 in a record-breaking performance at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.

"He arrived and he needed to be spoken to and fully briefed on it.

"Once he was fully briefed, he said 'righto, we need to take this to the police'."

As an ex-policeman himself, Hansen said he could understand authorities being frustrated.

"Whether it was right or wrong, it's what's happened so we all have to accept that and deal with it," he said.

Supt Hodder said police didn't have a theory about who planted the device - and nor does Hansen or the All Blacks.

"Lots of people are speculating about who's done it and who hasn't and I don't think that's fair because no one knows who's done it and obviously there's plenty of people who could do it," Hansen said.

"So I think until the Inquiry's done by the police, we should sit back and that's it, let them do their job and certainly not speculate on who planted it there because no one knows.

"We certainly don't know."

As evident by the All Blacks' biggest-ever win on home soil, Hansen said his world champion side wasn't distracted by the pre-game sideshow - "more shocked".

"It's not something that we wanted, bit it happened," he said.

"It's like an injury, isn't it. You've got to deal with it and it's not in your control.

"But how you react is in your control and we've just got on with our work and passed it over to the powers that be and they'll deal with it."

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said his team wasn't bothered by the explosive revelation either.

"I don't think anyone accused us of putting it there, did they? It's got nothing to do with us," Cheika said.

POLICE TO INVESTIGATE DELAY

Australian police said they will investigate why it took days for New Zealand Rugby to come forward about a bugging device found in the All Blacks' team meeting room at the Sydney hotel.

New South Wales Police held a media conference about the discovery.

Asked whether the six-day delay made the investigation tougher, Superintendent Brad Hodder told reporters that "any delay in any investigation's always tough but we'll look at that information".

"We will be looking at all the avenues and what part of the legislation it comes under, in particular ... we'll look at telecommunications offences and the Devices Listening Act," he said.

Hodder said police didn't have a theory about who planted the device.

'WE'RE GOING TO GET ON WITH IT

NZ Rugby chief executive Steve Tew told reporters in Sydney on Saturday afternoon that the device may have recorded a team meeting.

"There was an All Blacks team meeting there earlier in the week. If the device was working properly, and we don't know that for sure, then they would have overhead that," NZ Rugby chief executive Steve Tew told media outside the hotel.

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

The device - the sort used by law enforcement and spying agencies - had been planted in a chair in the hotel, where the team have been staying since Sunday, the Herald has learned.

The hotel has launched its own investigation.

Read more:
Wallaby great Matt Burke disturbed by revelations
All Blacks bugging scandal: World media reacts
Sir Graham Henry - history of spying in elite rugby

The Herald understands the foam of the seat appeared to have been deliberately and carefully cut to make way for the device and then sewn or glued back together to be almost undetectable.

The hotel - the Intercontinental in Double Bay - is also believed to have hired an investigator to determine how the device came to be in the chair. Photo / Supplied
The hotel - the Intercontinental in Double Bay - is also believed to have hired an investigator to determine how the device came to be in the chair. Photo / Supplied

The Herald has been told that hiding the device was a highly skilled and meticulous act and whoever put it there would have needed a significant amount of time to have pulled off such an accomplished job.

Tew said on Saturday afternnoon he had spoken with Australian Rugby Union counterpart Bill Pulver who was "just as shocked as I was" at the bugging.

"We haven't made any accusations of anybody, so there's no room for denials," he said when asked if Australia had denied involvement in the incident.

When the discovery of the bug was revealed by the Herald late this morning, Tew said in a statment that the New Zealand and Australian rugby unions had "jointly decided to hand over the investigation to the Australian police".

"We are taking this issue very seriously, and given it will be a police matter, it would not be prudent to go into further details."

On Saturday morning Pulver told the Herald the organisation was alerted to the discovery by Tew this morning.

ARU DENIES INVOLVEMENT

Pulver categorically denied that the ARU had any involvement in or knowledge of how the bug got there.

"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.

"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."

Despite the issue now being a police matter, Pulver said his concern was media revealing the scandal "on match day".

"I'm utterly disappointed the story would break on match day and frankly, that's all I've got to say," Pulver said.

"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 revelation will send shockwaves around the world game and is likely to force an investigation by governing body World Rugby into whether the integrity of the game has been compromised.

In a typical test build-up, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen - a former police officer - lays out his expectations on a Sunday and details how he wants his team to play. Photo / Brett Phibbs
In a typical test build-up, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen - a former police officer - lays out his expectations on a Sunday and details how he wants his team to play. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Earlier Saturday, New South Wales Police appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

A New Zealand Police spokeswoman referred inquiries to Australian authorities.

A spokeswoman from Prime Minister John Key's office said Mr Key was not able to respond to questions because the matter was under investigation.

A spokeswoman for the office of Minister of Sport Jonathan Coleman also declined questioning, saying the matter was for New Zealand Rugby.

BUG BREACHED CONSIDERABLE SECURITY

The All Blacks suspected some of their team rooms may have been bugged during last year's World Cup in England but didn't have sophisticated enough equipment to detect them.

In Sydney, they had access to high-level equipment and were able to detect the planted device - but that was after a team meeting in the room the night before.

In a typical test build-up, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen - a former police officer - lays out his expectations on a Sunday and details how he wants his team to play.

A player was sitting on the chair with the planted device but it's believed the bug was hi-tech enough that it wouldn't have affected the quality of the transmission.

All Blacks management have been advised that under Australian federal law: "Generally, it is an offence to knowingly install, use or cause to be used, or maintain a listening device to record a private conversation, whether or not the person is a party to that private conversation.

"If a person is not a party to a private conversation it is also an offence for them to knowingly install, use or cause to be used, or maintain a listening device to overhear, monitor, or listen to the private conversation."

The hotel is believed to have hired an investigator to determine how the device came to be in the chair.

Wherever the All Blacks stay, they are allocated a room by the hotel where the players can gather and where private meetings about strategy, tactics and selection can take place.

This room is always clearly marked as private, is usually roped off or inaccessible to anyone other than players and management and sometimes has security personnel monitoring the entrance.

If the device was planted with the intention of listening into the All Blacks, then whoever was trying to do that would also have needed to have known which room to place the chair and have been able to get it in there undetected.

The All Blacks have been aware over the years of various attempts by people to spy on them while they have been training. But while they have suspected that they may have been bugged by listening devices in the past, this is the first time they have found definitive evidence.

'A BLIGHT ON CLASSIC CONTEST'

Wallaby great Matt Burke says the revelations were a "turning point in what we thought was a pure game".

" ... This is definitely a blight on what is regarded in Australia as a classic contest."

Sir Graham Henry said there's a history of spying at rugby's highest level, but he had never heard of an operation like this one.

All Black great Sir John Kirwan was saddened by the revelations.

"I'm sort of hoping that there was a police convention there and [someone's] left one of their toys in there - but I don't think that is [what happened].

"I think it's really important that we get to the bottom of who did it and make sure that they're punished accordingly because it's bringing the game into disrepute."

- With AAP

- NZ Herald

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