Super Rugby
Zac Guildford signs 10-month Super Rugby contract with Waratahs
September 16, 2015
© Phil Walter/2015 Getty Images/Getty Images/2015 Getty Images

Zac Guildford has finally signed a 10-month contract to play Super Rugby for New South Wales Waratahs next season.

The former All Blacks winger, 26, was scheduled to ink a deal with the Sydney-based team in August but he had a change of heart and looked set to pull out of a one-year contract before confirming on Wednesday that he would join the Daryl Gibson-coached team at the end of October.

"I've just come back from Sydney and having a look at the Waratahs, and I'm very impressed with what they have to offer - their facilities, Sydney as a whole, and the group they have in charge there," Guildford said in Auckland on Wednesday.

Guildford cut short a contract with French giants Clermont this year to return home, citing homesickness in the continuation a chequered professional career. Off-field incidents and ongoing problems with alcohol earned reprimands from All Blacks and Crusaders management before his departure for France.

Gibson said that Guildford would face a challenging time in earning the respect of his team-mates at the Waratahs following a tumultuous few years in professional rugby.

"He's probably been carrying that bad-boy baggage around with him for the past few years, and from my observations he has moved past it and grown up a bit," Gibson said. "Of course his signature comes with risks for both parties, but we strongly believe in his ability. He's highly motivated and aspirational about his career, so our challenge will be to get the best out of him."

Guildford said the Waratahs offer had given him new motivation.

"Coming back from France it gave me a focus, and one that I thought could make me better as a person and as a rugby player, becoming fitter, stronger and mentally tougher. That's why I took on this opportunity, and it's going to be a bloody hard one. It has been so far, and I don't expect it to get any easier."

Gibson said that Guildford would provide depth and experience in the outside backs for the 2013 champion Waratahs, who have lost Adam Ashley-Cooper, Taqele Naiyaravoro and Peter Betham to European clubs. "We've got some excellent young emerging prospects in the squad, but I felt like I needed a ready-made player who has been proven at Super Rugby level."

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