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England's Rugby World Cup team is screening team hotel rooms and dressing rooms for electronic bugs.

The Australian media have pointed to the security measure as a sign of England' supposed "paranoia". England's security stance is more Austin Powers than James Bond, according to the Ozzies.

But England coach Clive Woodward said the procedure was a sensible security precaution necessary to exclude any risk of the team's game-plan falling into opposition hands.

"We have a machine that anyone can buy in the shops that checks for bugs," Woodward told sports site Planet Rugby.

"We have this little device and it is no bigger than a matchbox and Tony Biscombe, who is our IT man, goes round the hotel rooms and the team rooms and makes sure there are no devices."

The Sun-Herald reports that the England had to ask for mobile phone relay equipment to be turned off because it sent anti-bugging equipment haywire.

Woodward said the England team has been checking for bugs for two years following concern that the British Lions may have been spied on during a 2001 tour Down Under.

Following victories in semi-final fixtures last weekend, England face Australia in the final of the competition this Saturday in Sydney.

In other tangentially-related IT/sports news, IT company QinetiQ has devised a formulae to explain the kicking prowess of Jonny Wilkinson, England's star player.

Yes the reason England have reached their second World Cup final is:

KP = CSP - (EnC(s+w+r+yⁿ) + PsS( cr+sc+mt+xⁿ) + PhS(c x t x w)

No we're not doing the explaining. Go to QinetiQ.

Now if only QinetiQ had as much ingenuity in keeping up the 1901 Census site.

Just an idea. ®

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