New Zealand Rugby
NZRU bring in experts for Guildford
ESPNscrum Staff
November 16, 2011
Zac Guildford of the Crusaders tries to break through the Reds defence, Reds v Crusaders, Super Rugby Final, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Australia, July 9, 2011
Guildford will hope to line-up for the Crusaders in the 2012 Super Rugby season © Getty Images

The New Zealand Rugby Union will bring in external experts to help Zac Guildford and implement a plan of support for the winger.

Guildford has been at the centre of a media storm after his behaviour in the Cook Islands which saw him allegedly assault two people in a bar. And on Tuesday a local triathlete accused the World Cup winner of harassment. But the NZRU general manager Neil Sorensen has confirmed that they will help the winger while also carrying out their own misconduct process.

"From an employer's perspective, the events in Rarotonga have been incredibly disappointing and Zac needs to be accountable for his actions," Sorensen said. "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.

"That will obviously require a joint approach with Zac, his family and other supporters, the Crusaders and the NZRU."

Guildford is now back in New Zealand - despite reports to the contrary - and he faced the country's media when he arrived in Auckland. He apologised for his actions on the Island and claimed he would be giving up alcohol. "I would like to apologise for myself," Guildford said. "I feel really embarrassed. 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.

"My actions were not that of a professional sportsman, which I'm disappointed with. I just want to get home and sort myself out. I just hope the New Zealand Rugby Union have faith in me and I can put the right structures in place and prove to them that this time I'm ready to give it a good crack and put myself in a better position to be a better person, and if being an All Black flows from that then it does, but at the moment I'm concentrating on myself and the Crusaders.

"I accept that myself and alcohol at the moment don't mix too well, obviously it switches something inside me and that's disappointing but at the moment I'm giving it up and just looking to better myself and sort out issues that obviously go on when I do drink. I have to, I mean I've got a lot of fans out there and my family and I said my support crew and I can't keep messing up, I think I owe them and myself a long time off the booze and a better and healthy future."

Before he left the Cook Islands, Guildford met the two people he allegedly assaulted and described the talk as "highly successful."

"I apologised to the two guys that I had a altercation with in the bar and I couldn't ask for more from them, we sat down and had a chat for about 15 minutes and they support me and that was about it," Guildford said. "They just said that they wanted me to get better and wished me all the best for the future and they wanted to see me back out there again playing rugby."

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