All Black wing falls deeper into rugby abyss

Tue, 06 Mar 2018 06:38
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NEWS: Troubled All Black Zac Guildford will return to European Rugby after failing to secure a Super Rugby contract.

Twentynine-year-old Guildford will play for Nevers in the ProD2 it has been confirmed.

Guildford (1.82m, 97kg) won 11 caps for the All Blacks and scored six tries before off-field dramas effectively ended his international career.

His much-publicised battle with alcohol climaxed with a drunken episode in Rarotonga in 2011 and his addiction problem would ultimately limit what many believe would have been a truly outstanding career in the famous black jersey.

After four years with the Crusaders his contract with the NZRU was terminated in 2014.

"We're really disappointed that Zac has not been able to achieve his full potential in New Zealand. He is a good man, talented but troubled," NZRU General Manager Neil Sorensen said at the time.

"Zac has struggled to continue to meet the commitments he made to himself to keep on top of his personal issues. Ultimately those issues are private to Zac but all parties agree that cutting ties now is the sensible decision."

After stints with the Waratahs and Clermont, he returned to rugby with Waikato, but was unable to lock down a Super Rugby place this season, with many questioning whether or not his off-field difficulties would continue to return to plague him.

Guildford remarked in October of last year after it emerged he would not get a Super Rugby contract that: "I feel like coaches and the NZRU are still looking at the old Zac Guildford but I've made a lot of changes and become a better person since I left the Waratahs 18 months ago."

Guildford was the youngest player to play with the Hurricanes in Super Rugby (at age 18), was an Under-20 world champion with the "Baby Blacks" in 2008 and 2009, he was then selected for the first time with the All Blacks in 2009 at the age of just 20.

Guildford's father Robert died within minutes of the final whistle being blown in the Baby Black's victorious U20s World Championship Final in 2009, aged just 44. Guildford has publically attributed his troubles with addiction to his father’s untimely death.

By Ian Cameron, Rugbypass