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Zac’s back on track

Zac Guildford flipping a pass during a Heartland Championship match between Wairarapa-Bush and Wanganui last year. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

Former All Black Zac Guildford’s move north has paid off with the 28-year-old named yesterday in the Waikato squad for the upcoming Mitre 10 Cup season.

Guildford played for Wairarapa-Bush in the 2016 Heartland Championship competition, helping the side reach the Meads Cup semi-finals in the process.

The versatile outside back brings a huge amount of experience to the Waikato squad, and the ability to cover multiple positions.

He has played 74 games for Hawke’s Bay, scoring 200 points since his debut in 2007.

At Super Rugby level, he has played a combined 86 matches for three Super Rugby franchises including the Hurricanes (18) Crusaders (61) and the Waratahs (7), as well as 11 matches for the All Blacks where he was a part of the side that won the Rugby World Cup on home soil back in 2011.

Guildford told Radio New Zealand on Tuesday that hitting “rock bottom” in 2016 had helped to get his life back on track.

“I realised there were going to be no more contract handouts and if I wanted to keep playing rugby I had to work bloody hard so I went away and played for (Wairarapa-Bush) and have come to Waikato through the sevens competition . . . so I’m very grateful.”

He played for the Waikato sevens team in their 2016-17 campaign, helping them to win the Northern Regional Sevens tournament and the Bay of Plenty Provincial Sevens tournament.

Waikato were also runners-up in the National Sevens tournament.

Guildford said he never pictured himself living in Hamilton but after an approach from former All Black Roger Randle to come and play sevens he’s pleased he made the move.

“Obviously sevens isn’t paid (at provincial level) and I didn’t have any work so he (Randle) managed to find me a job and accommodation through Hamilton Old Boys Rugby club and I have been here since and I love it.”

Waikato head coach Sean Botherway said Guildford had shown a strong desire to get back into professional rugby.

“This is another positive step toward that goal.

“He has excelled in his performances through the sevens programme and in our local club competition for Hamilton Old Boys.”

Waikato kick off their 2017 campaign against Taranaki on August 19.

1 COMMENT

  1. Awesome Zac. Give it heaps and make the most of this opportunity. You are too talented to languish in Heartland rugby. Kia kaha!

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