Zac Guildford in doubt after new incident

GEORGINA STYLIANOU AND RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 05:00 21/01/2013
Zac Guildford
IAIN McGREGOR/Fairfax NZ
LATE NIGHT INCIDENT ALLEGED: Zac Guildford has voluntarily stood down from the Crusaders.

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Disgraced Crusader Zac Guildford's rugby future is in doubt after another alcohol-fuelled incident.

The 23-year-old has admitted being involved in a serious incident after attending a private house party earlier this month.

This comes after Guildford rejoined the Crusaders on his final warning after several misconduct charges by his employer, the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU).

The winger told coach Todd Blackadder during last week and chose to remove himself while the "matter" was considered by the NZRU and the Crusaders.

NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said: "We and the Crusaders were very disappointed to learn of this incident. As a result, the NZRU has initiated misconduct proceedings against Zac."

"We will be meeting with Zac and his representative in the following week to discuss the matter, and next steps. As his employer, we want to ensure that the process respects Zac's right to a fair hearing, so we do not wish to comment further at this stage," Tew said.

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder said the incident was "serious enough" for Guildford to inform him about it.

He would not comment on exactly what took place, but confirmed alcohol was involved.

However, he confirmed no other Crusaders were involved, nor were the police.

"I'm very disappointed... whatever the outcome is... that Zac gets himself sorted once and for all."

"There obviously is a problem."

In 2011, Guildford, now 23, was suspended for four weeks following an NZRU misconduct hearing into a booze-fuelled night in Rarotonga.

He missed one Super Rugby match and three Crusaders pre-season fixtures and was ordered to undergo alcohol treatment and counselling at his own expense.

At the time, coach Blackadder said: "There's no second-chance saloon here, that's really clear. There's no more misconducts. If there's anything remotely close, he's gone."

He said any further breach would mean "he's not going to be a Crusader any more and his NZRU contract will be terminated; it really is as simple as that".

Talking to The Press last night, Blackadder said he stood by those comments.

"He really has let himself down... You can only be given so many chances and when you're coaching a team like the Crusaders and you have a young guy like him you have to put the team first."

Blackadder said there would have to be "steps" put in place before they considered putting Guildford back on the team.

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He said it was the culmination of about five misconducts in the past 18 months that made this one particularly serious.

"In all fairness we shouldn't be going through this again... With things like this we are back to square one."

"There will be consequences, but that will be taken care of through this process."

"We really feel for him, but on the other hand he has to take responsibility accountability for his actions."

Last month Guildford, who had not drunk alcohol for one year, told Fairfax Media he had turned over a new leaf.

When the 23-year-old was photographed having a beer at the Ellerslie races on Melbourne Cup Day, it quickly became national news.

But Guildford was quick to dispel rumours he is back to his wild ways.

"I made a mistake and people are always going to have the eye on me waiting for me to slip up again. It's actually probably a good thing for me knowing I am being constantly watched because it will ensure that I keep myself in check. I don't see myself making another mistake and it's made me more determined too."

Guildford's agent Simon Porter refused to answer questions about Guildford yesterday and referred The Press to the CRFU and NZRU. Of the current squad, no other players have been under investigation.

Guildford is taking time to resolve matters, including the NZRU misconduct process.

Blackadder said the process should be completed by the end of this week.

- The Press

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