Support declared for rugby star's brother

By Doug Laing

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Rugby stalwarts who guided Zac Guildford's younger brother into a premier grade club career say they hope he can avoid a jail sentence for repeated drink-driving.

Victor Guildford, 21, appeared in Napier District Court this week for sentencing on his third drink-drive conviction after admitting he drove drunk on Puketapu Rd, Taradale, about 4.20am on April 29.

He returned a breath alcohol level of 763mcg, almost twice the legal limit of 400mcg.

Like his more illustrious older brother, he had in his younger days played for Napier in the Ross Shield Hawke's Bay primary schools rugby tournament, and had been recognised in other age groups as he went through high school.

When Napier club Technical coach Arthur Brown set about rebuilding the team with young potential in 2008 Victor was one of the first he wanted.

"He had plenty of pace and scored some beautiful tries, and he was a good team man," Mr Brown said.

The input, short-lived as it was, was noticed also by Technical chairman Mark Hamilton, whose club has since won two Premier first round titles and who said yesterday: "He's a good kid. He was very much a party to the rebirth of the club."

He got a job as an apprentice in the construction industry, and was taken to help on employers' contracts on the East Coast before deciding to try his luck in Australia, but was hit by the knee and hip injuries and had to return home for surgery.

It was the following year that father and Technical stalwart Rob Guildford died as he watched son Zac in the New Zealand Under 20 team winning rugby's Junior World Cup final in Japan.

Zac Guildford later made national headlines after alcohol-related incidents, including a bar disturbance while holidaying in Rarotonga last November.

At this week's hearing defence counsel Michael McAleer successfully sought a deferral of sentencing to establish an address at which Victor could serve community or home detention.

Judge Richard Watson rejected the possibility of Victor staying with brother Zac, saying living with a group of males of his age could make it "party central".

He was remanded on bail for sentencing on August 27.

Conditions of bail bar him from driving any vehicle or consuming alcohol.

Mother Deborah was unable to be contacted yesterday but had been reported as saying after the appearance that she thought if her son received a community sentence it would be best if he stayed with her.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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