Guildford shoots down his own aerial acrobatics
Zac Guildford's airborne tryline assaults are over.
Last Saturday's mistimed dive forced the Crusaders left wing to make a risky landing and he knows it would have only taken a pinch of misfortune for the manoeuvre to descend into disaster.
Having scurried through the initial defensive wall and brushed aside Andre Taylor's final tackle, Guildford capped off the 65-metre solo dash by launching himself skyward as he celebrated his try against his old Hurricanes team-mates.
But as he reached the peak of his trajectory, he feared he had over-egged it.
"The one at the weekend was a bit stupid.
"I was going for a repeat of the one I scored a couple of weeks before but I got a bit too high and just tried to bail out at the end.
"I think I will just be putting the ball down a bit more subtly if I get a try this weekend."
Injury, or accidentally jolting the ball free, are all part of the risks associated with such acts.
Guildford also hoped his try, which pushed the Crusaders out to a 14-10 lead late in the first half, would instigate a flurry of points. Instead the Hurricanes won, 23-22.
"I was just a bit excited because I thought we would break away from the Hurricanes at that point."
After starting on the right wing for the All Blacks in the first two tests against Ireland, Guildford will again return to the left flank against the Chiefs at Waikato Stadium tonight.
He is more instinctive with the No11 on his back, having played there for the majority of his career.
"I don't know what it is but just being on the left side feels more natural. I actually do a few things better from the right, but the left side just feels more at home. On the right you are stepping off a different foot and passing off a different hand."
As the Crusaders' top try-scorer with seven, one more than centre Robbie Fruean, Guildford expects the Chiefs backline to present a similar defensive threat to that presented by the aggressive Hurricanes.
Former All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith has indoctrinated their players with the disciplines used by the international side, and breaking down the Chiefs line will require a mixture of perserverance, sound decision-making and maybe some Guildford X-factor from the Crusaders.
"Yes, I think we are underdogs. We probably haven't warranted the favourites' tag after the game at the weekend."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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