All Blacks security contractor Adrian Gard has denied any involvement in the bugging scandal that has rocked world rugby.
New South Wales police charged Gard with public mischief this week, after a listening device was discovered in the All Blacks' meeting room at the Double Bay InterContinental hotel last August.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen immediately described the accusations as "bizarre and unbelievable", while Auckland-based security consultant Daniel Toresen yesterday told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking that the affair was "cringe-worthy" and "shockingly bad".
Gard, 51, who has previously protected golf superstar Tiger Woods, TV personality Oprah Winfrey and former US president Bill Clinton, has been part of the All Blacks security team for 10 years.
He supposedly discovered the bug, telling the Daily Telegraph that he had nothing to do with planting it.
"I don't know anything about this stupid bloody bug," Gard said. "The bug was news to me.
"I literally had not 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."
The accusations could have an extremely damaging effect on Gard's professional standing in the security business; he insisted his record spoke for itself.
"People who work with me can vouch for my reputation. My work speaks for itself."
Brisbane-based Gard will appear in court on March 21, accused of providing police with false information. The charge carries a maximum 12-month sentence.
The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) was quick to use the announcement of the charge against Gard to claim it had been cleared of any involvement in the placement of the listening device.
ARU chief executive Bill Pulver commended the New South Wales police 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," Pulver said.
"Clearly the media attention that resulted from it was a distraction that neither team needed on the morning of a very important test match."