All Blacks winger Zac Guidlford will get help for his drinking problem but could still be punished by the NZRU for misconduct following the recent events on the Cook Islands.
Guildford returned to New Zealand on Wednesday after being released by the Cook Islands police. The 22-year-old was reported to have assaulted elderly patrons at a Rarotonga bar while naked late last week. He also verbally abused a Cook Islands triathlete while she was on a training run on the island. Both incidents occurred while Guildford was heavily intoxicated.
The New Zealand Rugby Union has said that they will not tolerate this kind of behaviour, but at the same time are determined to get the young man the help he needs.
‘From an employer’s perspective, the events in Rarotonga have been incredibly disappointing and Zac needs to be accountable for his actions,’ NZRU general manager of professional rugby Neil Sorensen said in a statement. ‘This will involve Zac going through our misconduct process over the coming weeks.
‘However, it is fairly clear that there are some very big issues involved here, and rugby cannot provide all the solutions on our own. We are working with a professional counselling organisation which will provide guidance and input as to the next steps for the coming days, weeks and months.’
The latest drunken blowout is not the first for Guildford. He admitted on Wednesday that he needs to make a change to his destructive lifestyle.
‘The last few months I have had a bit of a problem with drinking and I need to address that, and all I can do now is move forward and put some positive steps in place with a good support group I have,’ Guildford said. ‘My actions were not that of a professional sportsman, which I’m disappointed with. I just want to get home and sort myself out.’