Former All Blacks sensation Zac Guildford has spoken about the horrors that unfolded following his selection in the All Blacks.

At the youthful age of 20, Guildford burst onto the scene and caught the eye of the national selectors with his stunning displays for Hawke's Bay and the Hurricanes.

At a glimpse, all seemed well for the star winger. But underneath the surface Guildford was imploding.

Guildford's father had died not long before his All Blacks selection. The pressure of the All Blacks environment and the tragic passing of his dad all became too much for Guildford.

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"I made the All Blacks when I was 20. It was the year my dad passed away and I decided I was going to try as hard as I can for him and I managed to make the All Blacks at an emotional time for myself and my family," Guildford told Eurosport.

"But then at the same time, I was hurting and I was in pain because I had lost my dad so I was doing whatever I could to escape, whether that be rugby or drinking alcohol.

"So my life was catastrophic, but at the same time everyone thought I was living the dream being an All Black. But in my head I was going crazy."

His international career went up in smoke after he was accused of drunken naked assaults during an alcohol-fuelled series of incidents in Rarotonga in 2011.

But the incident was the catalyst to Guildford coming clean, admitting to alcoholism and gambling troubles for the first time.

Former All Blacks sensation Zac Guildford has spoken about the horrors that unfolded following his selection in the All Blacks. Photo / Getty
Former All Blacks sensation Zac Guildford has spoken about the horrors that unfolded following his selection in the All Blacks. Photo / Getty

After sticking it out with the Crusaders, the wounded winger pulled the pin on his All Blacks career and signed with French giants Clermont.

Just 21 games into his French rugby career he was released and signed with Super Rugby side the Waratahs.

After scoring one try in seven games for the Australian outfit he lost his contract, forcing the now 29-year-old to return home with his rugby career in tatters.

This was the lowest point in Guildford's life, the winger told Eurosport.

"After I lost my contract at the Waratahs, it was after Clermont, I was still doing the same dumb stuff. Same old Zac. And then I went home, back to Napier.

"No contract, no money."

With nothing to show for his lengthy yet troubled career, Guildford was penniless and forced to live with his grandparents.

At an all-time low and missing rugby, a rough night out with friends on the booze suddenly woke the former All Black up to the reality he was drinking away his career, and possibly his life with it.

"I wake up in my friend's garage one morning after a big night and I think I want to change," he explained.

"It took me to lose all those contracts and to chopping trees with my Grandad and living with my grandparents to realise I do love this game and want to give it another shot."

That shot came in the form of amateur rugby.

"So I decided to play amateur rugby in New Zealand from the town I was born, a very small place called Wairarapa Bush, below ITM Cup. It was very amateur.

"That was a changing point in my life."

Two years on, the once wounded winger is now back in France applying his trade with second division team Nevers.

To date, Guildford has played six times.

He once beat out a handful of his peers such as Aaron Cruden and Israel Dagg to national selection, and won an All Blacks spot over Ben Smith and Joe Rokocoko. He was supposed to be the golden boy of the new All Blacks era.

The 11-test All Blacks' international career may be over, but at 29 Guildford still has time on his side.

He may be lost to New Zealand, but Guildford hasn't been lost to rugby, the game he's fallen back in love with.