Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an APNZ reporter based in Christchurch.

Guildford: No news could be good news

Zac Guildford. Photo / Hawkes Bay Today
Zac Guildford. Photo / Hawkes Bay Today

No news could be good news for embattled rugby player Zac Guildford, according to a close friend and housemate.

The New Zealand Rugby Union has yet to meet Guildford to discuss allegations he assaulted a partygoer at a private address in Christchurch after a drinking and gambling session a fortnight ago.

Stu Bailey, who took Guildford into his home after he ran naked and bleeding into a Rarotongan bar in November 2011 before assaulting two patrons, said the 23-year-old's supporters were surprised but pleased the meeting had yet to occur.

"Everybody is more on the level now, which is a good thing. You're best not to deal with things at the height of emotion," Mr Bailey said.

"I spoke to Zac this morning and he's good. He's got good support around him, and that is important.

"There's still a process to go through with Zac, with the drinking and what have you, and he's aware of that."

Mr Bailey said the 10-cap All Black, who stood down from the Crusaders voluntarily after the latest allegations emerged last Sunday, had apologised to his alleged victim.

The victim did not want to press charges, and police were not called.

Mr Bailey has contacted the alleged victim's father on Guildford's behalf and claims things have been patched up.

"We've had a good, open conversation and been able to sort out any differences, if there were any," he said.

" He's happy with how we stand now. He said he's always been a fan of Zac's as a rugby player and how he plays the game.

"He's obviously sad that this has occurred as well. We all are, no more than Zac, who's now got to show everybody that he's prepared to change his ways."

A source close to Guildford said he had been drinking at a property for "a couple of hours" before he left to go on a gambling and alcohol "binge" on January 12.

When he returned to the house and the alleged assault occurred, he had been "completely out of control", the un-named source said.

Guildford owned up to the incident to Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder two days later.

Mr Bailey, 43, said Guildford was unsure when the NZRU meeting to discuss his lucrative contract would take place.

But he knew a few overseas clubs were interested in the winger should he stop playing in New Zealand.

"With a player of Zac's class, an All Black, those players are not generally that available, so the interest in Zac from overseas is probably greater than it's ever been.

"He's got his best rugby ahead of him. He's only 23, he's still earning his craft at the top level. Look at DC (Dan Carter) and Richie (McCaw) and those guys, they've played their best rugby when they've been at the top level for 10 years."

- APNZ

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