Zac Guildford looks to sharpen up in France
Former All Blacks bad boy Zac Guildford admits he's got a bit of weight to lose as launches the next phase of his troubled rugby career in France.
The former All Blacks wing has joined his new club Clermont and admits he's a bit out of shape after a frustrating Super Rugby season with the Crusaders where he sat on the sidelines.
"To be honest I've got a bit of work to do to lose a few pounds and get a bit sharper," the 25-year-old who played 10 tests for the All Blacks and was a World Cup winner in 2011, told French site Rugbyrama.
In a career littered with off-field issues, he fell out with the Crusaders this year, only playing for their development side and some club rugby before the New Zealand Rugby Union terminated his contract early.
Still young, Guildford is eager to start afresh in Europe and wants to make an impact.
"I know that people will expect a lot from me and I hope that with some game time I can show what I can do on the ground. The challenge excites me."
The lively French scene has thrown up an early surprise for Guildford who was amazed at the large crowd that turned up to watch Clermont's preseason training.
"Normally when we trained in New Zealand it was just the coaches and players, but to have a couple of hundred people there was great."
Guildford said the Clermont club had been a welcoming environment and he had started French lessons to overcome his communication difficulties.