Zac Guildford has said he's sorry - friend

GREG FORD
Last updated 05:00 22/01/2013
Zac Guildford
IAIN McGREGOR/Fairfax NZ
LATE NIGHT INCIDENT ALLEGED: Zac Guildford has voluntarily stood down from the Crusaders.

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A close friend of Zac Guildford says the troubled All Black is working behind the scenes to save his rugby career by "reaching out" and "apologising" to the other party involved in a late-night fracas.

In the latest of a long line of booze-fuelled indiscretions Guildford appears to have been involved in some fisticuffs at a private party last week, and is being investigated by the New Zealand Rugby Union.

The Crusaders wing lives in Stu Bailey's Northwood home.

Bailey said yesterday Guildford was "embarrassed" but had "reached out" to the other party involved in the incident.

"There have been some apologies sent, received and accepted over what has happened so from that perspective I think we have moved on but we are talking about Zac, and the media have great interest in Zac and whatever he does these days, and he can't avoid that unfortunately.

"He has apologised for the indiscretion that happened but I guess it has been taken out of his hands and other people have decided they want something to say about it and that is the society we live in. Other people like to involve themselves in other people's business these days."

The complaint from the unknown third party soon after Guildford disclosed what happened to Crusaders' manager and mentor Angus Gardiner triggered the NZRU inquiry.

Bailey described the incident as "a mild indiscretion" and said a handful of Guildford's Crusader team-mates had made contact to offer support and that "Zac has the backing" of his team and partner, jockey Sam Spratt.

"He has a great support crew and great partner and is misunderstood in the public arena where people perceive him to be a person that 99.9 per cent of the time he isn't."

Bailey, who works as a bookmaker for the TAB, took Guildford under his wing when he arrived in Christchurch two years ago. They struck up a friendship via their mutual interest in horse racing.

"He is not just a flatmate but a close friend. I have given him a good place to live and good environment to live in. I am 43 not 23 and have been there and done that. We have all been young once but my days of going on the ran-tan are few and far between."

The Crusaders would not comment yesterday and are waiting for the result of Guildford's disciplinary hearing which will decide his fate.

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