ENGLAND will adopt their usual security measures this week as they leave no stone unturned in an unflinching quest for World Cup glory.
Counter-intelligence work has been taken seriously for the last two years, checking hotels and changing rooms for bugs to make sure no one is listening in.
The approach may seem farfetched. But the Lions believe their line-out codes were cracked in 2001 - lock Justin Harrison's third-Test steal saved the series for Australia - and this summer, South Africa were the subject of claims that they had filmed the Wallabies' captain's run before their first Tri-Nations meeting.
England boss Clive Woodward yesterday insisted the precautions were no more than any major company would take before sensitive business meetings.
"We could lose a World Cup if we don't pay attention to these things," he said. "We have this little device. 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.
"Sometimes people don't understand the huge stakes that we are playing for. We don't want to take any chances - and we don't. It is just common sense; we have done it for a couple of years now - it is our standard way of operating."
Woodward does not believe World Cup final opponents Australia would resort to underhand tactics to gain an advantage.
"I don't think that's the way they operate," he said. "It will be our normal precautions, which are very professional and thorough.
"A lot of it is common sense. We won't be training with every man and his dog walking past at line-out practices, which is what the Lions did (in Australia) two years ago. It wasn't the brightest thing. We're just being professional.
"It's like any business meeting - you open any business meeting by making sure the room is secure. I'm sure nothing will happen.
"You can do so much, but the bottom line is that if another team is hell-bent on watching your training session there's not a lot you can do. But you have still got to be smarter than the average bear."
That is not to say England will be on public display a great deal this week, with only light training planned. Thursday and Friday are both likely to be days off for the players, before Saturday's show-down.
England will also maintain a watchful eye on regular matchwinner Jonny Wilkinson. The Newcastle superstar is in huge demand from an adoring public, and England know they must keep such well-intentioned fervour in check.
"At Twickenham, he (Wilkinson) has to be escorted to the coach," said Woodward. "It's not just in Australia. The guy is a sought-after person, and we kind of look after him when we know there are a lot of people around."
Woodward plans to unveil his starting line-up tomorrow.