Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder is hopeful of a positive
result for Zac Guildford as the All Blacks wing prepares to
front an New Zealand Rugby Union misconduct hearing.
Blackadder has kept in touch with Guildford as the player
underwent a rehabilitation programme following his latest
alcohol-related incident and said the 24-year-old was in a
good frame of mind.
However, despite Guildford seeking professional help for his
alcohol problem - he was engaged in an intensive 28-day
residential programme in the North Island - there are fears
his contract could be torn up by the NZRU.
There has been speculation the hearing could happen as early
as Thursday but an NZRU spokeswoman said that had yet to be
confirmed. Guildford's agent Simon Porter could not be
contacted last night.
Blackadder said he couldn't comment on the judicial process,
but sources at the franchise say contact with the national
body over the Guildford affair has been limited and not
A termination of his contract - Guildford in his final year
with the NZRU - would almost certainly see the Hawke's Bay
provincial player seek employment overseas.
Blackadder said Guildford was extremely keen to return to the
"I've kept touching base with Zac and he's tracking pretty
well," said Blackadder.
"He's keen to get back into rugby. The whole point of his
seeking treatment was to come right, with rugby second, but
it could be an important factor in his rehabilitation. We'd
love to have him back."
Guildford, who has played 10 tests for the All Blacks and
starred in the 2011 World Cup when he scored four tries in a
pool game against Canada, removed himself from the Crusaders
indefinitely after allegedly assaulting a partygoer in
Christchurch in January. It is alleged that he punched Ryan
Kerr, the son of Kaiapoi harness racing trainer Paul Kerr,
who said it had been a case of mistaken identity.
The alleged incident came after Guildford's post-World Cup
exploits in Rarotonga, where he allegedly assaulted two men
in a bar while drunk, for which he also faced a misconduct
It is understood that when Guildford stood down from the
Crusaders in January he presented a medical certificate to
the NZRU stating he was unfit to work.
Blackadder has previously said that as Guildford was taking
steps to remedy what was a medical issue, he was hopeful the
NZRU would give the player another chance.
Guildford, who made his All Blacks debut as a 20-year-old
against Wales in 2009, last played for the All Blacks against
Ireland in Christchurch last year.