Court case? What court case?
One year later, the All Blacks have returned to the InterContinental hotel in Sydney’s Double Bay, scene of the bug saga that damaged trans-Tasman rugby relations.
The ensuing court case launched over the belatedly reported listening device resumes this week and could conclude on the eve of Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup opener at ANZ Stadium.
New Zealand’s security consultant Adrian Gard is facing a charge of making a false statement to police, pleading not guilty.
All Blacks playmaker Beauden Barrett gave sardonically short shrift to the prospect of more bug headlines becoming a distraction.
“Is that on at the moment is it?” Barrett asked reporters on Monday, when quizzed about the court case.
“We’re focusing on our footy, so we’ll let the court take care of that.”
An All Blacks official had asked journalists to steer clear of the topic during Monday’s media conference, saying it would not be appropriate for players to comment on a current court matter.
The listening device found in a team room at the hotel overshadowed last year’s opening Bledisloe Cup Test in Sydney.
The Wallabies were infuriated with the timing of the story, which broke in a New Zealand newspaper on the morning of the Test, and also felt there was an inference they may be connected, though the All Blacks never suggested as much.
“We had policemen in our offices asking us questions, asking our management questions. That’s serious stuff to be accusing people of and it’s not true,” coach Michael Cheika said last October.
The All Blacks’ management clearly have no qualms checking back into the InterContinental hotel, while Barrett had no issues returning to the eastern suburbs of Sydney.
“We love being back in Double Bay, yeah, it’s a great place to stay,” he said.
“It was a great night’s sleep last night.”