Zac Guildford off to France

2014-01-09 12:23
Zac Guildford (Gallo Images)

Wellington - -Former All Blacks wing Zac Guildford has signed a two-year deal with an option for a third with Top 14 leaders Clermont, the French club confirmed on Thursday.

Guildford, who is in his prime at 24 but has struggled with alcohol problems, will move to France after this year's Super 15 season.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for us to enrich our team with a player of such talent and versatility,"Clermont backs coach Franck Azema said.

"Like all the All Blacks we have in our ranks, we believe that he will bring us a bit of his culture, his feel for the movement of the game, which we want to continue to develop.

"Everyone knows his ability, technique, speed or the explosiveness that he can bring to the attacking line and we're really happy to offer him a new challenge and a first experience in France."

Guildford becomes Clermont's fifth recruit for next season after forward Sebastien Vahaamahina, centre Jonathan Davies, hooker John Ulugia and eighthman Fritz Lee.

New Zealand has a policy of not selecting foreign-based players for the All Blacks, meaning the switch could effectively end Guildford's international career.

He played the last of his 10 Tests for New Zealand in mid-2012.

Guildford's alcohol problems first emerged publicly when he was reprimanded by All Blacks' management during their 2011 World Cup campaign.

Just weeks later, after New Zealand had won the tournament, he had a meltdown while holidaying in the Cook Islands, running naked into a bar and punching two men.

Then in January last year he allegedly became involved in a brawl at a party in Christchurch, prompting him temporarily to withdraw from rugby and seek help.

In March the New Zealand Rugby Union cleared him to return to his Super 15 club the Canterbury Crusaders and the New Zealand national team, although he failed to break back into the All Blacks.

Clermont sporting director Jean-Marc Lhermet hailed the arrival of a "fantastic" player of Guildford's level in central France.

"Zac Guildford's arrival is excellent news from our club," Lhermet said on the club's website.

"After having experienced nearly everything in New Zealand, it is with the ambition of living a new adventure and seeking new challenges that he joins the club for the coming seasons."

Read more on:    zac guildford  |  rugby

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Did Stormers and Springboks lock Pieter-Steph du Toit deserve to be named SA Rugby Player of the Year?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.