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Ex-All Black homeward bound

Zac Guildford scores against Canada at the 2011 World Cup. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES.

By Gary Caffell
Former All Black Zac Guildford is a likely starter for Wairarapa-Bush in the 2016 Heartland rugby championship.
Talk that Guildford could be returning to the union started not long after news broke earlier this month that plans for him to represent the Tasman Makos in the 2016 Mitre Cup competition had fallen through.
The move would be a homecoming for the pacey winger, who grew up in Greytown, and won a World Cup medal with the All Blacks in 2011.
WBRFU officials chose to stay mum when asked if those rumours had any substance, but sources close to the union told the Times-Age yesterday that negotiations to have Guildford join their Heartland side were virtually complete.
According to them it was just a matter of the NZRFU giving the move their blessing and it was all go.
Guildford played 10 tests on the wing for the All Blacks from 2009 to 2012, scoring six tries – including a record-setting four against Canada during the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
He was first selected for the All Blacks for the Northern Tour in 2009, and was the youngest player in the squad.
He has often been the subject of controversy, most of it seemingly related to his issues with alcohol which have caused him to have trouble with clubs in New Zealand, France and Australia.
In June he left the Australian-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.
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.
He has made himself available for the forthcoming Heartland campaign.
Monaghan, who can play virtually anywhere in the backline other than halfback, was a star of the 2014 Wairarapa-Bush side and made the national Heartland team that season.

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