Zac has fought a highly publicised battle with the bottle

By Joanne Carroll

Guildford owns up to his drinking ways in Christchurch. Photo / Getty Images
Guildford owns up to his drinking ways in Christchurch. Photo / Getty Images

Zac Guildford's short career has veered between triumph and tragedy.

He played provincial rugby for Hawke's Bay and was selected for the All Blacks' end-of-year tour in 2009.

The nation took him to its heart when his father, Robert, died shortly after the final game against England.

But since then the 22-year-old has fought a highly publicised battle with the bottle.

Guildford admitted breaking team rules when he hit the town after the All Blacks' Bledisloe Cup victory against Australia at Eden Park in August this year.

Team members were allowed a few drinks in the city to celebrate their win, but were to be chaperoned by security personnel.

Instead Guildford left the team hotel on his own and returned the next morning, clearly the worse for wear.

After the incident he agreed to drink moderately after the All Blacks coaches called a meeting in South Africa to discuss his drinking.

However, within weeks he drank heavily again and broke team curfew at the team hotel in Brisbane after the All Blacks' 25-20 defeat to the Wallabies on August 28.

In September, Guildford held a press conference promising to address what he admitted were alcohol issues.

He apologised and said he didn't want to blow his chances with the All Blacks.

"Personally, I feel I let myself down and the team down," he said.

"Obviously a poor performance on the field in a week that I felt the pressure at times led to me making a few bad decisions off the field following that game."

He played some RWC games but was ruled out from the quarter-finals because of a hamstring injury.

- Herald on Sunday

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