ALL BLACKS WINGER Zac Guildford is giving up alcohol for 2012 in an attempt to get his rugby career back on track.
The 22-year-old made the pledge of abstinence yesterday after he was hit by a four-game ban at a New Zealand Rugby Union hearing into his recent drunk and disorderly behaviour, the NZ Herald reports.
Because his suspension also takes account of the Super Rugby preseason, the Crusaders star will only miss out one competitive game, the season opener against the Blues on 24 February.
Guildford, capped eight times by the national side, hit the headlines during a trip to the Cook Islands last month when he stumbled drunk and naked into a bar and allegedly assaulted two patrons and triathlete Kelly Pick.
In a statement yesterday, Guildford apologised for his behaviour and agreed to undergo alcohol treatment and counselling at the NZRU’s recommendation.
“I am embarrassed by what has happened,” Guildford said, “but I know that I let down the many people who support me. I am focused on getting myself into the place I need to be when I return to rugby next year.”
“What he went through is hopefully going to be a life-changing experience,” Crusaders boss Todd Blackadder said. “For example he’s not going to be drinking alcohol for a year and he’s getting some really good therapy.
There’s no second chance to learn here. I think that’s really clear. There are no more misconducts, if there’s anything remotely close then he’s gone.