Troubled former All Black Zac Guildford will be back on familiar territory when he arrives in South Featherston to live with grandparents Frank and June Burt.

Always a favoured grandson, the gifted footballer will not be short of things to do on the farm in a relatively sparsely populated part of the Wairarapa valley.

June Burt revealed yesterday that it was odds-on that Guildford would be put into harness helping his grandfather chopping a mountain of firewood, a task he helped out with many years ago and loved doing.

Apart from that task the 10-test All Black is likely to also cop a job helping to foal a mare the Burts expect to give birth any day soon after Guildford's arrival.


The family are horse lovers and have owned racing thoroughbreds, one being the highly successful Franzac, which Guildford had a share in and which is now racing in Hong Kong under a different name.

Mrs Burt - Guildford calls her nana and his grandfather "Goga", a name reaching back into his childhood - said the couple were delighted to have Guildford coming to live with them as he pursued his rugby career with Wairarapa-Bush.

First picked for the All Blacks in 2009, Guildford's career has been dogged by drink problems which have caused him to have trouble with clubs in New Zealand, France and Australia.

In June, the 27-year-old left the Sydney-based Waratahs Super Rugby squad for what were labelled "well-being reasons". And last year he left French club Clermont Auvergne halfway through a two-year deal with personal reasons being cited for that departure.

Mrs Burt said: "Frank will keep him busy. There's lots of things he can do and he just loves chopping wood. He's a natural."

She said Guildford had phoned her this week and it was likely he would take up residence at South Featherston this weekend.

"He has always wanted to come back to play here. It's where he started."

If Guildford is given the all clear to play for Wairarapa-Bush, he will add significant strength to a backline which has already been boosted by the news that Sam Monaghan, who missed all of last season through being overseas, has returned to the region.