Zac Guildford's exit from NZ rugby confirmed
The New Zealand Rugby Union has today confirmed that Crusader Zac Guildford's contract has been terminated.
As reported by The Press last week former All Blacks wing Guilford has been released by the Super Rugby franchise and is now free to join Clermont, the French club he signed a three-year deal with last summer.
Guildford, who has battled alcohol issues throughout his rugby career, was scheduled to join Clermont at the end of the Super Rugby season but has been granted an early release from his NZRU and Crusaders contracts.
"We're really disappointed that Zac has not be able to achieve his full potential in New Zealand,'' New Zealand Rugby General Manager Rugby Neil Sorensen said.
''He is a good man, talented but troubled. 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.
"We hope that a change of environment, culture, new mates and challenges for this next stage of his young career will be the catalyst to springboard him back into the top form we know he can achieve both on and off the field.
"We hope he keeps the dream to pursue the black jersey alive, and returns one day to fulfil that.''
Crusaders Coach Todd Blackadder said it had not been easy for Guildford or the Crusaders to come to this point, but in the end they had mutually agreed that the best way forward for the player to make a fresh start in France.
"Zac has been a Crusader for four years and there are a lot of people here who care about him a lot,'' Blackadder said. ''We've been working alongside him to try and help him reach his true potential both on and off the field and we wish him nothing but the best for the future.
"There is no doubt that Zac has had some tough times in the last few years and there have been disappointments for all of us, but he is a bright young man with plenty of rugby left in him and we will be sending our best wishes and support with him for the next step in his career and life," Blackadder said.
The Crusaders will not replace Guildford for the remainder of this season.