Hawke's Bay rugby star Zac Guildford has voluntarily stood down from the Crusaders team after a late-night incident at a private home in Christchurch last weekend.
Guildford, 23, has admitted being involved in the incident after attending a private house party. The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) said Guildford informed Crusaders Coach Todd Blackadder during the week and chose to remove himself from the team environment while the matter is considered byunion and the Crusaders.
NZRU Chief Executive Steve Tew said: "We and the Crusaders were very disappointed to learn of this incident. As a result, the NZRU has initiated misconduct proceedings against Zac.
"We will be meeting with Zac and his representative in the following week to discuss the matter, and next steps. As his employer, we want to ensure that the process respects Zac's right to a fair hearing so we do not wish to comment further at this stage," Steve Tew said.
Details were yet to be revealed, including whether the incident was alcohol-related. But some of Guildford's friends shared details on social media sites of one gathering he attended during the weekend in question. A photo posted publicly on Twitter by Brad Elley showed Guildford spending time with friends at a house on Friday January 11.
A second photo, posted by Guildford soon after showed some of the group playing backyard cricket.
One of the men who was with Guildford on Friday and named in the Twitter photograph caption later said on Facebook: "Wow!!!! What happened yesterday between 12.30 and 10pm?" he asked "F*** knows ... s*** got a wee bit silly," another person replied. The NZ Herald reports it understands that as of last night the NZRU had not spoken with Guildford about the allegation.
Earlier Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach refused to comment.
The report came as news to Hawke's Bay Rugby Union chief executive Mike Bishop, who said his union has no current "issues" with Guildford.
Last night Guildford's mother Deborah said: "I know nothing and have no comment".
Guildford has been in Christchurch training pre-season for the Crusaders Super Rugby side. While contract details are not yet complete, he is expected to play ITM Championship rugby for the Magpies if he does not have commitments to the higher levels of the game.
Guildford has played 10 tests, between November 2009 and his most recent against Ireland last June.
Guildford has faced a string of off-field issues, most notably a rampage while in Rarotonga.