Sunday 21 July 2019

British and Irish Lions sweeping hotel rooms for listening devices to avoid spying

Samuel Lovett

The British and Irish Lions routinely sweep their hotel rooms and team facilities in New Zealand for listening devices, chief executive John Feehan has confirmed.

The Lions are employing the same security company that carried out such checks during the 2009 tour of South Africa and 2013 tour of Australia, Feehan added.

"They are experts in electronic surveillance, to ensure that we are not being looked at or listened to," Feehan told The Telegraph.

"The team room, for example, is swept regularly and no one is allowed in there unless they are part of the squad, and if there is any suspicion at all they will do another sweep.

"Nothing is perfect in this life and if someone is determined enough they probably will get something, but all we can do is try to ensure that they don't."

More and more security consultants are being hired by international rugby teams as they attempt to prevent opposition sides from discovering their tactics.

The All Blacks were notably targeted in 2013 when a British newspaper reporter gained access to the team room in their hotel and revealed some of the planning and motivational messages written on a whiteboard.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has also accused foreign reporters of covertly filming the side’s practice sessions.

In a bid to deter the press at the last Rugby World Cup in England, Hansen’s men trained behind a four-metre fence.

The Lions and All Blacks meet in their first Test match of the tour this Saturday at Eden Park in Auckland.

(© Independent News Service)

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