Guildford has booze slip-ups, but still 'confident'

TONY SMITH
Last updated 05:04 11/01/2014
Zac Guildford
JOSEPH JOHNSON/Fairfax NZ
ZAC GUILDFORD: "I'm not going to lie, I haven't been perfect. There's been a few little slip-ups on the way, but I'm feeling much healthier in myself and more confident. I'm willing to move on and live a better lifestyle."

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Zac Guildford admits he has had "a couple of slip-ups" along his sobriety path but is committed to living "a better lifestyle".

His Super rugby coach Todd Blackadder agrees and says the 24-year-old wing will "always be a Crusader" and have the franchise's support for life.

Guildford publicly admitted he was an alcoholic last year after his contract was reinstated by the New Zealand Rugby Union following some behaviour breaches.

He insisted yesterday he had some "great support structures" in New Zealand and would "build a few more" when he moves to France in August to play for Clermont Auvergne.

But Guildford, who turns 25 next month, insisted he was "feeling pretty confident in myself".

"I'm not going to lie, I haven't been perfect. There's been a few little slip-ups on the way, but I'm feeling much healthier in myself and more confident. I'm willing to move on and live a better lifestyle."

He told The Press he planned to "keep up my counselling and my meetings and stuff like that".

"I know the life that I lived before and I don't want to return to that."

Guildford is "more aware of my surroundings and what I can and can't do".

"I'm still a bit of a big kid and a bit of a clown, but that's just the person I am. But I think I've come along with a year or two behind me, and I'm looking forward to moving on."

Blackadder said Guildford had had his issues but had "a very special place in my heart".

The Crusaders had seen a "transformation" in Guildford over the last couple of years and Blackadder believed he had the talent to come back to New Zealand rugby after his French fling.

"The world's his oyster.

"Like in anything, if you've got addictions, there will always be times when you regress, which is very normal," Blackadder said.

"There have been a few issues since the last major one, but not as much as what there has been in the past. Zac is maturing, he's making better decisions. I think it's very normal. There's no cure for it, it's something he will have to keep working on for the rest of his life."

Guildford said he had "pretty close family back in Hawke's Bay" and great friends and it was a tough decision to move overseas.

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- The Press

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