Rugby: Zac Guildford keen to pass on hurt

By SHANE HURNDELL

It was easy to detect the hurt in Hawke's Bay and Crusaders rugby winger Zac Guildford yesterday - the pain from last weekend's 33-20 loss to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
"The whole team played bad and I take responsibility for giving away a seven-pointer," said Guildford after the Crusaders' final training session in Christchurch before tomorrow night's clash with the Chiefs at Napier's McLean Park.
"It will be good to redeem myself back home."
It was put to him the banter with fellow Magpies and Chiefs hooker Hika Elliot this week must have provided some light relief.
"Yes, Hika reminded me about the collision I had with his shoulder in our last game against the Chiefs," Guildford replied. "I reminded him I still got the offload away.
"I told him if I get the opportunity this time I will step him altogether."
Banter and hurt aside, it's no secret Guildford has produced consistent form this season, which warrants an All Blacks recall.
"I haven't heard from the All Black selectors since the start of the Super season. All I can do is keep doing what I can ... I know there are a lot of good wingers around."
Although he isn't looking beyond tomorrow night's redemption mission, Guildford is eagerly awaiting the Magpies' ITM Cup season. After the disappointment of failing to gain a premiership berth last year, it will be another repair job, similar to tomorrow night's for him.
Guildford agreed it was disappointing his Magpies teammate and Crusaders fullback Israel Dagg would miss the rest of the Super season.
"He will bounce back in time for the World Cup. The All Black selectors know what he can do," said Guildford, a Commonwealth Games New Zealand Sevens gold medallist.


With Dagg and Sonny Bill Williams among the non-travellers this weekend, Guildford is likely to be close behind All Black captain Richie McCaw and first five-eighth Dan Carter in terms of the players most likely to be chased by autograph-hunters.
"There's still a few other All Blacks who will be sought after. If I get asked for an autograph it will be a privilege," said the humble Napier Boys' High School product.
Former Magpies first five-eighth Matt Berquist hasn't been guaranteed game time off the Crusaders bench in what will be his final appearance if he takes the field at McLean Park before heading to a one-year contract with Irish club Leinster.
"This is a big game for us," said Berquist. "We need to get our rhythm back and Dan [Carter] is a crucial part of the equation. If I do get out there, I will be doing the best I can."
Carter has had a couple of injury spells this season and Berquist, who scored 415 points in 42 first-class games for the Magpies from 2006-09, has had five starting-XV appearances.
"That's a few more than I was planning on at the start of the season and I've really enjoyed them," said Berquist, who had 18 games for the Highlanders in the 2009-10 Super seasons.
Asked if he would pass on any McLean Park secrets to Carter, Berquist replied: "Dan is a pretty special player ... he will work things out."
Meanwhile, Brad Thorn has shaken off a calf injury and will join Berquist on the bench. A rib injury at training yesterday has ruled out substitute flanker Jonathan Poff and his spot on the bench goes to Joe Wheeler.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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