Editorial: Zac can learn from pro of pros

A few hours before Zac Guildford joined the All Black squad for their first post-World Cup training yesterday, a former teammate continued to show what can be achieved in a career with the right level of professionalism.

Brad Thorn added a Heineken Cup (European Cup) with Irish club Leinster, to his stellar rugby and league careers in Australasia.

The trophy cabinet was already remarkable - Rugby World Cup, Super Rugby, NRL. The representative honours stunning - Queensland State of Origin and Kangaroos, Canterbury, Crusaders and All Blacks

But more telling is that at 37, this powerhouse athlete remains passionate and committed to the job of professional sportsman. Whoever he plays for gets 110 per cent on and off the field.

Thorn was only signed up on a short-term contract by Leinster in March because of an injury crisis.

And it is injury, to Richard Kahui, which has given Guildford his lifeline.

Unceremoniously dropped from the All Blacks in 2010, disrupting the World Cup with an apology for behaviour during last year's Tri-Nations, then being suspended for off-season craziness in Rarotonga - it's been a tough road for a young man of 23.

We know of all his challenges, including the premature passing of his father, Rob - a hammer blow with surely unseen affects.

While some, including in the media, love nothing more than to kick a man when he is down, many in this province remain supportive.

It's now up to him to prove he is worthy of that support, because like it or not, with high profile comes scrutiny.

The signs however are good.

The Magpies star winger had to be considered unlucky to miss out on the initial 35-man training squad after a strong season of Super Rugby.

He showed on Saturday night that he hadn't spent the week sulking, turning in a superb one-try performance for the dominant Crusaders as they crushed the woeful Blues.

Now he must bring his A-game to the All Blacks if given the chance, and give 110 per cent off the field. We know he has the talent, it's professionalism, day in and day out, which has to become evident.

To quote Brad Thorn yesterday morning: "It's not so much about what's going to happen next. It's just about enjoying today and only the Lord knows what will happen in the future. We shall see how it works out."

Let's hope in Zac's case, it's for the best.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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