New Zealand

Guildford's conditional return

Wed, 13 Mar 2013 19:22
Zac-guildford-crusaders Neil-sorensen-nzru Zac-guildford-hawke_s-bay Zac-guildford-media
We have had a full and frank discussion
Quote-end

The New Zealand Rugby Union has decided to reinstate Zac Guildford to professional rugby and the Crusaders.

Guildford, who has a history of alcohol-related problems, withdrew from the Crusaders indefinitely in January after he reportedly became involved in a brawl at a party.

He has since undergone an intensive treatment programme at a private clinic and committed to a continuing care plan.

NZRU General Manager Neil Sorensen said that Guildford's return comes with several conditions that both parties have agreed will remain confidential.

"This decision was not reached lightly or hastily, and follows a very thorough misconduct process and consultation with medical experts," Sorenson said.

"We have had a full and frank discussion with Zac about the situation in which he finds himself, including his medical condition.

"Despite the serious misconduct, we found that there were sufficient mitigating circumstances to believe that Zac can continue to make a significant contribution to New Zealand rugby provided that he observes the conditions and continues with his path to recovery.

"The NZRU and Zac have agreed that no further public statements will be made regarding the details of the misconduct hearing or the basis on which reinstatement has been granted.

"We will continue to work with the Zac and the Crusaders to help reintegrate Zac into life in rugby, and to ensure he has the best opportunity to continue giving to the game," Sorensen added.

Guildford admitted that he has challenges that will be with him for life.

"It is up to me to continually work at managing them," the All Black said.

"To help me do that I will continue to take on board the friendship, advice and tools offered by the experts I have been fortunate enough to work with, and the support of those close to me: my family, friends and the wider rugby community.

"These challenges are not something I want sympathy for, or mothering. I know I have to earn back the trust and respect of others and hope that my actions moving forward will achieve that.

"I know I have apologised for my behaviour before and that people's patience has grown thin.  For that reason, I am hugely grateful that I have been given this opportunity to show that I really am serious about getting my life heading in the right direction.

"I appreciate it may well have been easier for the NZRU and Crusaders to terminate my employment, rather than continue to support me in the way they are. I want to thank them publicly, and reward their faith in me and my recovery over time."

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