Australia assistant coach Jim Williams “probably won’t even bother looking” at the controversial photograph that captured New Zealand’s game plan for Saturday night’s trans-Tasman encounter in Melbourne.
A professional photographer – ironically a New Zealander – used his long lens to zoom in on a sheet of paper being held by coach Graham Henry containing tactical information at the visitors’ Tuesday training run.
Sporting Life reports that the image, which has stretched pre-match tensions to breaking point, features four separate set-plays – three of which appear to target fly-half Matt Giteau in defence.
The security breach has angered the tourists, who have gone to the extreme lengths of employing beefy security guards to avoid prying eyes on previous tours Down Under.
But a typically understated Williams was quick to downplay the significance of the revealing shot on Wednesday, insisting he has not looked at the photo and answering “probably not” when asked if he plans to study the All Blacks’ secrets.
“I wouldn’t read too much into it myself and probably won’t even bother looking at it – it’s a picture of training and that’s how I’ll leave it,” Williams quipped.
“Teams will try to put a little bit of focus on the opposition but realistically it’s about how you prepare and what you want to do during the game.”
Asked in jest where he and head coach Robbie Deans were hiding while the Kiwis trained, Williams joked: “Robbie doesn’t like to hide too much. He’d be right out the front there on the grassy knoll.”
Pressed on his likely reaction if it had been a member of the Wallabies coaching staff that was photographed, Williams replied: “We’d probably be looking at (a) groceries (list) or something like that. I wouldn’t read much into it.”
He added when asked if he will be more careful in future at open training sessions in order to avoid similar embarrassment: “We prepare as best we can and considerations are taken about how the team prepares, where we train and what we do so I’m happy with those guidelines and how we go about things as a team. It’s not going to make me take any extra precautions.”
Meanwhile, Williams dismissed assertions from the All Blacks camp that the photographer in question had breached an unwritten rule by taking the shot.
“As a team you prepare as best you can. Those issues are always going to be out there but it’s not something that we concentrate on personally,” he said.
“If it’s done it’s done but it’s not really something that we concentrate on or really worry about.”Tweet