Security consultant Adrian Gard appears to have returned to work for the All Blacks.
Gard, who became embroiled in the “bug-gate” saga in Sydney last year when he discovered a listening device in a chair inside the All Blacks’ meeting room in their hotel in Sydney, was spotted at the team’s training in Brisbane on Tuesday. Newshub showed footage of him wearing an earpiece and in discussion with a team staff member.
The All Blacks will meet the Wallabies at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
After an investigation by NSW police Gard was charged with making up claims that he found the listening device.
However, he was found not guilty during at Downing Centre Court by Magistrate Jennifer Atkinson, who said there was not enough evidence in the circumstantial case to convict Gard of making a false representation resulting in a police investigation.
Gard was found guilty of operating as a security consultant without the proper licence. He was placed on a one-year good behaviour bond.
Gard claimed he found the bug on August 15, and the magistrate said it was possible someone else had planted it.
The trial coincided with the same week when the All Blacks were in Sydney to prepare for their first Bledisloe Cup match against the Wallabies.
On the morning of the All Blacks’ captain’s run on the Friday before the game, Kieran Read provided a character reference for Gard by telephone from his hotel room.
Read said he did it because he considered Gard to be a “mate”.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen also provided a reference, as did Kangaroos rugby league coach Mal Meninga.
Following the trial, NZ Rugby chief executive Steve Tew told media he could not see any reason why Gard couldn’t work for the All Blacks again but said that decision was up to manager Darren Shand.
Comment has been sought from the All Blacks camp.