Guildford returns to Crusaders
Wellington - All Black winger Zac Guildford has officially been reinstated to the Crusaders after a New Zealand Rugby Union disciplinary hearing following an alcohol-fuelled incident this year.
The 24-year-old Guildford had stood down from his Super Rugby franchise as he sought treatment for an alcohol problem after he reportedly got into an altercation at a private house party after a drinking binge.
It was the third alcohol-related incident for the winger inside 15 months and he had sought treatment previously. Local media had reported the NZRU was weighing up whether or not tear up his contract after his latest indiscretion.
"This decision was not reached lightly or hastily, and follows a very thorough misconduct process and consultation with medical experts," NZRU General Manager Professional Rugby Neil Sorensen said in a statement.
"Despite the serious misconduct, we found that there were sufficient mitigating circumstances to believe that Zac can continue to make a significant contribution to New Zealand rugby provided that he observes the conditions and continues with his path to recovery."
Guildford, who recently completed the treatment programme, played for his Hawke's Bay club side last weekend before appeared before the NZRU disciplinary hearing.
"I have accepted that I have challenges that will be with me for life and that it is up to me to continually work at managing them," Guildford said.
"I know I have apologised for my behaviour before and that peoples patience has grown thin.
"I am hugely grateful that I have been given this opportunity to show that I really am serious about getting my life heading in the right direction."
Guildford is expected to return to Crusaders' training this week. He was not included in their squad for their match against the Bulls on Saturday.