Rugby World Cup: Who's spying on who in build-up to global rugby showpiece in France

The Rugby World Cup has been plunged into a spying controversy over fears certain teams will deploy espionage tactics in France.

As rugby fans fill the city of Paris, the rumour mill was churning out rampant speculation, but the All Blacks have brushed off the reports, saying it comes with the World Cup territory.

No shortage of cameras are trained on the teams at the top, but the eyes of the rugby world are rapidly turning in the direction of those lenses lurking out of sight.

Spygate is back.

All Blacks huddle at World Cup training.
All Blacks huddle at World Cup training. Photo credit: Getty Images

There are new reports - one of the top-tier nations has asked World Rugby for clarification about sanctions for any team found to be spying.

"Welcome to the World Cup," joked All Blacks coach Ian Foster. "It wasn't us, but was anyone spying on us?"

No-one knows who asked - or who is spying - but speculation is rife.

Four years ago, in his previous role as England coach, Eddie Jones accused New Zealand of espionage in the build up to the World Cup semi-final.

Security this year has been extremely tight, with armed police guarding the teams, as they move around France, although their focus seems more on safety than spy watch.

"There's a lot of pressure on, people react different ways," added Foster. "It's an exciting time and everyone's looking for an edge."

First reported by The Telegraph, a source told the British newspaper; "It is important to know what the sanctions are, if a team is caught spying.

"Is it a points deduction or a fine? The stakes could not be higher."

With France and New Zealand grouped together in Pool A, and Ireland, South Africa and Scotland all in Pool B, this year's World Cup has been billed as the most competitive in history.

The All Blacks are unbothered.

"We're pretty confident we have been training alone, but who knows," said Foster

They're focussed on staying as relaxed as possible, before their blockbuster first clash against France.

"Some of us play golf, there's been a bit of cards, just anything really," said Beauden Barrett.

Only two more sleeps until the teams start to show their cards to each other - officially.

Join Newshub at 7am Saturday for live updates of the All Blacks v France Rugby World Cup opener