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Guildford on sober road to recovery?

Thursday 12 January 2012 | Published in Regional


All Black Zac Guildford has had a booze-free Christmas break as part of his recovery from drinking problems that landed him in trouble in Rarotonga in November.

The Crusaders winger is now back training with his teammates at the club after the festive period, TVNZ reports.

Guildford said he had spent Christmas with family and friends while avoiding alcohol.

The 22-year-old said he had hit rock bottom while holidaying in Rarotonga in November.

During that trip he made international headlines after drunkenly assaulting two patrons at Trader Jacks while naked and allegedly abusing a Cook Islands triathlete.

Guildford will miss the Crusaders first match in the regular Super Rugby season after being slapped with a four-match suspension in December.

New Zealand Rugby Union handed down the suspension to Guildford after deeming that he was unprofessional and brought the game into disrepute.

The NZRU has also imposed other sanctions on Guildford including a requirement to undergo alcohol treatment and counselling at his own expense.

Guildford will miss the three pre-season matches with the Crusaders in February against the Highlanders in Greymouth, the Hurricanes at Mangatainoka, and the Rebels in Melbourne as well as their first match of the season proper against the Blues in Auckland on February 24.

He will be eligible for selection for the Crusaders week two fixture against the Highlanders in Dunedin, on March 3.

After dishing out the suspension, NZRU general manager professional rugby Neil Sorensen said that the NZRU and Guildford had agreed that professional treatment and counselling provided by external specialists would be an essential part of his rehabilitation.