Guildford's dad dies at rugby final

Last updated 15:54 22/06/2009

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New Zealand's win in the world under-20 rugby championship has been tinged with sadness by the death of the father of star back Zac Guildford.

It is understood Robert Guildford died in the grandstands while watching the final in Tokyo where New Zealand scored seven tries to beat England 44-28. Despite attempts to resuscitate him at the ground and at a Tokyo hospital, he passed away.

Zac Guildford scored two of those tries on the wing as he claimed his second world title with the national under-20s.

He is a Hawke's Bay and Hurricanes representative.

NZRU CEO Steve Tew said their thoughts were with the family.

"Our thoughts are with Zac, his mother Debbie and Zac's brother who have had to deal with this tragedy at what should have been the best of times, enjoying their son's achievements with a team that has excelled on the world stage," he said.

"It is an incredibly distressing event for all involved but especially for the Guildford family and their extended family and friends. The NZRU is working with them and the New Zealand Embassy to assist in getting the family back to New Zealand where they can continue the grieving process."

His father Robert is a former Wairarapa Bush player who took great delight in his son's progress that included making the trip to Japan for this latest tournament.

He played 39 games for the province between 1992 and 1996.

Zac Guildford became the youngest ever Hurricanes player when he was selected as an 18-year-old for the 2008 season.

He is a former Napier Boys' High School pupil and New Zealand schools representative.


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