Rugby

Guildford's contract terminated

2014-05-29 08:27
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Zac Guildford (Getty Images)

Wellington - The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) terminated troubled winger Zac Guildford's contract early on Thursday but said the door was still open for a return to the national squad.

The decision means Guildford, whose struggles with alcohol have been well documented, will be free to pursue a fresh start with French club side Clermont earlier than anticipated.

The 25-year-old was due to see out an NZRU contract with the Crusaders until the end of the Super 15, then make the switch to Top 14 rugby with Clermont.

But NZRU general manager Neil Sorensen said a decision had been made to let Guildford go sooner, rather than later, saying the player was still trying to deal with his issues.

"We're really disappointed that Zac has not be able to achieve his full potential in New Zealand - he is a good man, talented but troubled," Sorensen said.

"Zac has struggled to continue to meet the commitments he made to himself to keep on top of his personal issues. Ultimately those issues are private to Zac but all parties agree that cutting ties now is the sensible decision."

Guildford will not be eligible for All Black selection while in France but Sorensen said that did not mean he could not eventually return if he succeeded in turning his life around.

"We hope he keeps the dream to pursue the black jersey alive and returns one day to fulfil that," he said.

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

His 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, although he has failed to secure a regular spot with the Crusaders this season.

Read more on:    nzru  |  zac guildford  |  rugby
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