All Black winger Zac Guildford has publicly apologised for his disgraceful behaviour at a bar in the Cook Islands last week.
Last Thursday, the 22-year-old allegedly staggered naked into a bar in Rarotonga, where he’s staying with family and friends for a wedding. A barmaid confirmed that Guildford was bleeding from the forehead upon arrival and assaulted two customers.
This was not the first time Guildford has been involved in an alcohol-related incident. It is reported that the winger also took part in a heavy drinking session following the All Blacks’ 25-20 Tri-Nations defeat to the Wallabies last September.
In a recent press release sent out by the NZRU, Guildford said: ‘Firstly, I would like to apologise for my behaviour here in Rarotonga on Thursday night. I have no clear recollection of the events of that night but there is no doubt that my behaviour was unacceptable and I am hugely embarrassed by what happened.
‘I want to apologise to the people who I was involved with and offended that night, the patrons and staff who witnessed my behaviour, and the Cook Island people. I am truly sorry for what I did.
‘I also want to apologise to my family for the embarrassment my actions have caused.
‘I don’t want any sympathy for the situation I have ended up in, but I am thankful for the support I have received so far from so many people. It’s obvious that I need help and I want to get home and to get that help as soon as I can. I need to sort myself out.’
All Black speedster Cory Jane and former wing Jonah Lomu have come out in support.
‘There’s a lot of pressure. He grew up loving rugby and all of a sudden you’re in the spotlight in New Zealand. You still want to live life. A year ago you could go out and people wouldn’t call the media. Since the World Cup the media has been a bit more hard out,’ Jane told stuff.co.nz.
Lomu said: ‘He just needs to find himself, he’s still very young. ‘We’ve all been there at times – you need to let your hair down, but some people get carried away. One thing’s for sure, he’ll learn from this. He will be disappointed.’
Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder said the bar incident was ‘rock bottom’ for Guildford and believes the wing can only get better.
‘It’s extremely sad. He’s a bloody good boy, he’s a good kid, and he’s just struggling with it,’ said Blackadder. ‘They say that you can’t help someone until they’re prepared to help themselves or they hit rock bottom, and I think this is what’s happened here.
‘One thing that I do think he needs is to have rugby back in his life. He needs support of all his family and his friends, and he needs to be in a good supportive environment.’