Troubled Crusaders wing Zac Guildford has withdrawn
indefinitely from the Crusaders for this year's Super Rugby
season to undertake an intensive treatment programme to address
his ongoing personal issues.
It comes in the wake of another alcohol-related issue, when
he allegedly assaulted a partygoer at a Christchurch house on
January 12 after a drinking and gambling session.
Guildford, who has played 10 tests for the All Blacks, has
been involved in a string of high-profile incidents over the
past 18 months, including a drunken rampage in Rarotonga in
November 2011 that resulted in his arrest. He ran naked and
bleeding into a bar before assaulting two patrons
After that incident, the Napier-born player admitted he was
struggling with a drinking problem and vowed to give up
alcohol for 12 months.
He has gone into hiding since allegations of the latest
incident emerged this week but has withdrawn from the
Crusaders to seek treatment.
"We are all supporting Zac and see this as a positive step
forward in overcoming his illness," Crusaders coach Todd
Blackadder said. "This is ultimately about his well-being so
it is important for him to take the time to fully address it.
"We are unclear on what it means for the Crusaders at this
Blackadder had earlier said Crusaders management were
considering whether Guildford would be dropped from the
franchise for the rest of the season.
The NZRU banned Guildford for four matches after his
post-World Cup exploits in Rarotonga in 2011. He missed the
Crusaders' round one fixture against the Blues last season,
with the rest of the suspension served during the pre-season
"It has been a challenging week for everyone involved, and we
are working closely with the players' association and his
manager to ensure that he gets the professional help he needs
and is held accountable for his actions," NZRU chief
executive Steve Tew said. "As people may appreciate, this is
an employment matter and we must ensure that the process both
respects his right to a fair hearing and our legal
obligations as an employer.
"We also have a responsibility to the wider game and all
those who support it. We are working hard to deliver on our
obligations to the game.
"Zac's withdrawal from the Crusaders means they are able to
concentrate on preparing for their 2013 season, and Zac will
be free from rugby to concentrate on resolving his personal
issues. We will remain in touch with Zac to monitor his
progress and will address the issue of misconduct at the
The NZRU are likely to take a dim view of Guildford's latest
"Zac has a renewed acceptance of the challenges he faces,"
New Zealand Rugby Players Association chief executive Rob
"We have taken the advice of experts and Zac is committed to
the plan they have developed. It is fundamental that he
commits fully to the plan, and sees it through. This means
withdrawing from the rugby environment.
"We are all supporting Zac during what will be a challenging
time. Zac himself wants to make the most of the opportunity
provided and is very appreciative of the support he is
The Zac Guildford file
Broke team rules when he left the All Blacks' hotel to go out
after their Bledisloe Cup victory against Australia at Eden
Park. Within weeks, he drank heavily and broke the team
curfew after the All Blacks' 25-20 defeat to the Wallabies.
Guildford admitted to having issues with alcohol and promised
he would get problem under control.
The 23-year-old was arrested after he stormed into Trader
Jacks in Rarotonga naked and allegedly punched two men. He
then announced a self-imposed 12-month drinking ban, saying:
"I need to sort myself out."
After being photographed drinking at a function, Guildford
said he had changed his ways and now trusted himself to enjoy
one or two drinks with friends.