Steve Hansen mystified over charge against All Blacks security consultant
New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has described the decision to charge a man who worked for the All Blacks as a security consultant with public mischief as "unbelievable".
New South Wales Police have issued the charge after a bug was planted in the team room of New Zealand's hotel in the build-up to their 42-8 Rugby Championship match in Sydney on August 20.
The listening device was reported to have been working and had been embedded into a chair.
"Frankly, the charge seems bizarre and unbelievable. It's very hard to understand," Hansen 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.
"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."
Australia responded to the charge that will see the man appear in court on March 21 by criticising the delay in bringing the matter to a resolution.
"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," said Australian Rugby Union chief executive Bill Pulver.
"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 this news is welcome news that an individual has been called to account over this incident."