Rugby: Guildford supports from sideline

By Shane Hurndell


Ranfurly Shield Challenge

New Plymouth

Hawke's Bay Magpies rugby winger Zac Guildford is eyeing a deputy water boy's role in Friday night's Ranfurly Shield challenge against Taranaki in New Plymouth.

"Hopefully the coaching staff will allow me to attend the game and if I can I would be keen to help Bucky with the water," Guildford said referring to injured teammate Richard Buckman who has the designated water boy's role while he recovers from a hand operation.

Guildford and Buckman are the only Magpies unavailable for the challenge which doubles as a fourth round ITM Cup Premiership clash. Former All Black Guildford, 23, collected a hamstring injury early in the second half of last Friday night's 37-30 win against Counties-Manukau at Napier's McLean Park.

"This is my fourth hamstring injury. I've been getting one a year lately and it's unfortunate it has come at this time of the year," Guildford said.

"I'm pretty disappointed ... three games in eight days got the better of me."

The Crusaders star's rugby CV includes four World Cup titles, three of them in age group, and a Commonwealth Games Sevens gold medal.

But a Ranfurly Shield win has proved elusive during his five seasons of first class competition.

"It would have been nice to help the boys win it not just because I haven't done it before but because Hawke's Bay hasn't had it for so long," Guildford said.

"I'm not a big loss to the boys, I'm confident they can win the shield without me. We've played well in patches, 40 minutes of good stuff in our last three games and I'm confident we can build on that this week."

"I've got to take the positives out of this injury. I can use the spell to freshen up and come back strong," he added.

One bloke who won't be feeling positive in the wake of Guildford's injury is Magpies wider training group winger Matt Gordon who was called into this week's training sessions as cover for Guildford. Gordon broke his leg during a mauling drill and was to be operated on last night.

"It was just one of those freak accidents," Magpies coach Craig Philpott said.

Philpott was happy to report fullback Nick McLennan had recovered from his knee injury and will be available for selection.

"Apart from Matt's injury it has been a successful day's training," Philpott said last night.

He has already done his homework on the weather forecast in New Plymouth.

"I understand it's showers up until Friday when the rain will become heavier. That doesn't worry me," he added.

Although Nimon and Sons Ltd have cancelled a two-night coach trip to New Plymouth because of a lack of interest it is understood numerous Hawke's Bay supporters are planning one-night trips using minivans to support the Magpies.

The Taradale Golden Oldies team will take a detour en route to a tournament in Masterton on Saturday.

And should the Magpies lift the shield the majority of those Golden Oldies won't be in any fit state to play on Saturday.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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