New Zealand rugby
Zac Guildford may tour South Africa
March 15, 2013
Zac Guildford has been cleared to play rugby again and will rejoin his team-mates on Friday in Christchurch © Getty Images
Troubled All Blacks winger Zac Guildford may play for the Crusaders on their Super Rugby tour of South African at the end of the month after being given another chance by the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU).
Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder would not confirm when Guildford would be reintegrated into the team, but he said the winger could be selected for the tour of the Republic if he were fit and available. "We've been in touch and hopefully he will back here by the start of next week," Blackadder said at Crusaders training in Christchurch on Thursday. "We will have our one-on-ones with Zac and he'll be slowly integrated into the team. He has to have a medical to see where he is at physically and condition-wise."
Blackadder said that Crusaders management, coaches and players were all happy to have Guildford back after the player's rehabilition for his self-confessed alcohol addiction,and the fact the winger had sought professional advice and treatment for his alcoholism had shown he was on the right track.
"I don't think he has to earn the trust back [of the Crusaders] as the players are very forgiving, and I think this is a really good environment. If anything it is going to be a test for us. We talk about being a Crusaders family, which we are, and it gives us a second chance to get that right and that we can be here to support him because it hasn't just finished now; it's going to be an ongoing process and probably for the rest of his life."
Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach also welcomed back Guildford and said he was happy with the NZRU decision. "Zac has been reinstated and we're looking forward to working with him and seeing if he can be a fully contributing member of this team," Riach said. "Zac has to fundamentally want to change and we need to work with him as closely as possible to see him succeed."