Crusaders unite in support for Zac Guildford
The Crusaders are united in their support of wayward wing Zac Guildford and say they're ready to welcome the recidivist bad boy back with open arms as soon as he's ready.
Guildford is on indefinite leave from the Crusaders as he seeks treatment for his drinking problems, sparked by an incident in Christchurch last month that saw the former All Black allegedly assault the son of noted horse trainer Paul Kerr.
Doubt remains over Guildford's rugby future in New Zealand, though it's understood that the NZRU could be ready to offer him a lifeline on the back of his current treatment.
If so, veteran Crusader Andy Ellis said Guilford would return with the best wished of all his team-mates.
"All the boys here really support Zac, we've been texting him and keeping in touch, and he's working really hard at what he needs to work on," said Ellis.
"If he gets what he needs sorted then we'll have him back with open arms. He's a good mate of ours and the day he does come back he'll add a lot to the team."
Ellis was confident the Crusaders had the depth to cope in the short term with Guildford's absence, but he had no doubts the young man would return to his adopted franchise.
"All the boys here really believe in him, and we know him a lot better than everybody else. We know what a good bugger he is, what a good heart he's got, but also that he just needs a bit of help to fix a few wee things.
"We can't wait to have him back. He's one of our brothers, and he knows we're all here for him. He's got so much to offer the game and when he comes back I'm sure he will impress because he was looking awesome in pre-season training."