Zac Guildford anxious to know his fate
OPINION: The messy Zac Guildford saga should finally fizzle out this week.
When the New Zealand Rugby Union announce Guildford's fate after his misconduct hearing, expected to be held early this week, the former All Blacks wing will finally be put out of his misery.
Even if he gets sacked, Guildford, who presented a medical certificate to the NZRU which stated he was not fit to work for the Crusaders after a booze-fuelled day culminated in him punching a young man at a Christchurch party in late January, may feel some relief.
The 24-year-old can at least start planning his future; he can either sign for an overseas club, return to Hawke's Bay to contemplate his next career move or link with the Crusaders.
Had Guildford shown some self-control and recognised alcohol does him no favours, he would never have found himself in this position.
But it is understood he has finally - after attending a rehabilitation clinic in the central North Island - accepted he does have an alcohol problem.
It is also believed he is extremely anxious about the outcome of the NZRU misconduct hearing. That's not surprising.
Having previously been censured by the NZRU after soaking himself in alcohol and belting a stranger in Rarotonga following the 2011 World Cup, he knows his employers may instruct him to take a hike.
Just why this sorry process has dragged on this long is known only by the NZRU, Guildford and his advisers.
Although none of them are talking, it is believed the longer it has dragged on the more frustrated Guildford has become.
The Crusaders, for their part, have said the drama is being directed by the NZRU.
The Super Rugby franchise appears to have been left out of the loop. Like Guildford, they have been left in limbo and it is unlikely any of the Crusaders' representatives will be invited to the misconduct hearing.
Coach Todd Blackadder has remained in touch with Guildford, who has been based in the North Island since leaving Christchurch in the pre-season, and received a text at the weekend to say he survived about 40 minutes in a pre-season game for his Napier Tech club.
Despite the unwanted dramas Guildford has caused the team, and the damage he has done to the Crusaders' brand, there appears little doubt he will be welcomed back by his team-mates and coaches.
The former All Blacks wing will undoubtedly welcome the chance.
Rugby is all he has known since leaving school.
His fate now lies in the hands of the NZRU and, possibly, the medical certificate he presented when he initially volunteered to stand down from the Crusaders.
What did you make of this year's ITM Cup?