29 Jul 2015

Guildford set to play for Waratahs

11:30 am on 29 July 2015

Troubled former All Blacks wing Zac Guildford is reportedly to be thrown a Super Rugby lifeline by the New South Wales Waratahs.

Australia's Daily Telegraph says Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson will sign the 26-year-old as a marquee import for next season.

Former Hawke's Bay rugby player Zac Guildford

Former Hawke's Bay rugby player Zac Guildford Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Guildford, who played 11 tests for the All Blacks and was a part of the 2011 World Cup winning squad, played under Gibson when the latter was an assistant coach at the Crusaders.

However the wing fell out of favour with the All Blacks coaches and quit New Zealand rugby after being dogged by alcohol-related, off-field incidents.

He then joined French club Clermont Auvrgene in the middle of last year.

Guildford was granted an early release from the French Top 14 club in May, citing personal reasons and a desire to be closer to his family and support networks.

He returned home to New Zealand and is currently playing for Hawkes Bay, making his first start and scoring twice in their recent Ranfurly Shield defence against Wairarapa Bush.

Gibson reportedly reconnected with his former charge and it is understood terms have been agreed for Guildford to join the Waratahs next season.

In 2013, Guildford said he was an alcoholic and spent time in rehab after conceding he had "addictive tendencies".

"If you asked me this time last year while I was still in denial I guess it would have been [a struggle to say no to alcohol]. But now I've been away, I've seen the experts and had help. I have a great acceptance of who I am,'" Guildford said at the time.

'"My understanding was limited around alcoholism and the issue I had. That's the first step admitting I was powerless over alcohol and once I realised that everything became a bit easier.'"

The former All Black is expected to take the Waratahs foreign marquee slot held by South African Jacques Potgieter for the past two years.

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