Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Zac Guildford not included in Tasman Makos squad

NOT INCLUDED: Former Magpie Zac Guildford has not been included in the Tasman Makos squad for the upcoming Mitre 10 Cup. PHOTO/FILE
NOT INCLUDED: Former Magpie Zac Guildford has not been included in the Tasman Makos squad for the upcoming Mitre 10 Cup. PHOTO/FILE

Former All Black Zac Guildford's rugby career appears to be in tatters following an announcement from the Tasman Makos that he won't play for them in the upcoming Mitre 10 Cup.

The Nelson-based Makos appeared to be Guildford's last chance following a troubled rugby odyssey which recently saw him part ways with French club Clermont and the Sydney-based Waratahs due to his personal issues.

A self-confessed alcoholic, the 27-year-old Guildford has been struggling with his demons for years, his problems coming to the public's attention following the 2011 World Cup.

On the day that the national provincial rugby championship was launched, Makos chief executive Tony Lewis confirmed Guildford would not be a part of this year's squad coached by former Crusaders Leon MacDonald and Mark Hammett. "Due to the nature of our agreements with Zac, we are unable to comment further on any aspect of this," Lewis said in a statement.

This afternoon Guildford tweeted: "Life is fantastic absolutely fantastic. New journey. New beginnings."

Guildford, who represented Hawkes Bay last season, but was left out of the team to play in the semifinal against Bay of Plenty, is unlikely to find a place in that squad in the near future either. "Zac's dealing with some personal things at the moment and he needs some space to deal with those, hence he wasn't selected," Hawkes Bay coach Craig Philpott said at the time.

The Makos blow comes after his Waratahs' contract was ended this season after only seven matches. Coach Daryl Gibson, who worked with Guildford at the Crusaders and gave him a lifeline at the Waratahs, told the media after parting ways with Guildford: "Everything was just becoming too much of a struggle for him. As an organisation we've supported him, probably cared for him on a personal level too much. He's going to go back home and his future lies in New Zealand.

"It's been difficult as a club. We've done everything we can to support him. Zac's had his challenges and he'll continue to have his challenges and at the moment given his wellbeing I think the best thing for him is to be at home."

It is understood that the issue which led to Guildford being let go by the Waratahs also ended his chances at the Makos.

If this is the end of his professional rugby career, it is a sad way for it to end. At his best, Guildford, who played 10 tests for the All Blacks, was a quick and elusive wing and a clinical finisher.

It's possible his his future might involve helping others. In May this year the Waratahs noted that Guildford had joined six other Waratahs, including Wallabies Israel Folau and Wycliff Palu, at a Youth Work course through the Australian Vocational Training Academy.

"I love helping kids, I'm pretty much a kid myself at heart," Guildford told the Waratahs news team. "I enjoy being able to help people that are less fortunate.

"I've been through my ups and downs so I'm no one to judge and I'm the first one to put my hand up and help people. I find it easier to help other people than help myself sometimes so I think it suits me down to a tee."

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