Read defends All Blacks security guard cleared over 'bug-gate'
New Zealand captain Kieran Read provided a character reference in the trial of a security guard who has been cleared of a public mischief charge regarding last year's bugging scandal at the All Blacks' hotel.
Ahead of the clash with Australia in Sydney in August 2016, a listening device was purportedly discovered in the world champions' meeting room.
On Friday, Adrian Gard - a long-time employee of the All Blacks - was cleared of public mischief after pleading not guilty to making a false representation to police about finding the listening device in a chair.
Gard was found guilty of operating without a security licence at the Downing Centre court.
Read and the All Blacks are back in Sydney this week, preparing to face the Wallabies in their Rugby Championship opener, and the captain said the timing of the case was not something he had fretted over after he had attested to the professionalism of Gard, whom he described as "a very good man".
"[It was] just something I wanted to do, so I've done my bit and it's all I can do," Read told reporters.
"They decide to put the court case this week, so it's exactly what you have to deal with.
"You've [the media] spoken about the week it's been.
"We want to play footy, it's our job, that's what we came over here for so we can't wait to get out there.
"It's a highly anticipated clash. I expect some pretty big fireworks so looking forward to that."