16 Nov 2011

NZRU to review help offered to binge drinking player

2:36 pm on 16 November 2011

The New Zealand Rugby Union board says it will review plans it made a year ago to help the troubled All Black Zac Guildford.

Guildford arrived back from an alcohol-marred holiday in the Cook Islands early on Wednesday morning after police there said they would not be laying charges against him.

On his return to Auckland he apologised again for his reported drunken and violent behaviour and promised to give up alcohol "at the moment".

The All Black winger had already issued a statement of apology after claims he punched patrons at a bar in Rarotonga last week while he was intoxicated, bleeding and naked.

Triathlete Kelly Pick also laid a complaint with Cook Islands police on Tuesday, saying she was harassed by Guildford while out running on the day of the bar incident.

NZRU general manager of professional rugby Neil Sorensen says the union will review plans already in place for Guildford to see what has worked.

Two months ago, Guildford admitted having a problem with alcohol and agreed to moderate his drinking.

Mr Sorensen says experts will be called in to decide whether Guildford needs a break from rugby but it may well be that he needs to continue for stability.

He says it may get to the stage where Guildford loses his rugby contract and if that happens the NZRU has failed him.

Promise to quit

Arriving at Auckland International Airport on Wednesday with a large stitched-up gash over his left eye, Guildford said he feels embarrassed by his actions.

He says he succumbed to New Zealand's binge drinking culture.

"I accept that myself and alcohol at the moment don't mix too well. Obviously it switches something inside me and that's disappointing," he says.

"At the moment I'm giving it up and just looking to better myself and sort out the issues that obviously go on when I do drink."

Guildford says he doesn't remember what happened that night but he knows it wasn't the behaviour expected of a professional sportsman.

He says playing for the All Blacks again isn't something that he's concerning himself with at the moment but he hopes the NZRU will have some faith in him.

Pick disputes apology offer

Before he left Rarotonga, Guildford says he met with the two men he allegedly assaulted and says they told him they want him to get better and want to see him back playing rugby.

He says Kelly Pick refused to meet with him.

However, Pick says she would have been open to a meeting but Guildford was whisked out of the country before that could happen.

She told Morning Report she was approached by the New Zealand Rugby Union's mental skills coach Gilbert Enoka about meeting with Guildford.

Mr Enoka was given a letter through her solicitor outlining details of what would happen if a meeting took place.

Pick says she left it in their ballpark and didn't hear back from them.

She says she's disappointed Guildford left the country without apologising to her and wanted him to show true remorse for harrassing her.

Pick says she also suggested he donate to a local charity to show his remorse, but it's obvious he is not remorseful enough.

Special treatment claims

Cook Islands News editor John Woods says he was misled by the NZRU over Guildford's departure from Rarotonga.

Mr Woods told Morning Report it's a fine example of mental skills and media dodgery by Mr Enoka, who had earlier said Guildford would be staying in Rarotonga and was too injured to talk to his paper.

He says he was told a few hours before Guildford boarded the plane that there were no plans at all for the All Black to leave the island.

The NZRU is disputing reports that it smuggled Guildford out of the Cook Islands, saying he left under arrangements made by hotel and airport security.

Mr Woods says Guildford has obviously come to his sense and he wishes him luck for the future.

He says it is obvious local police have allowed Guildford to leave because he is a celebrity, despite the formal complaint of harassment by Pick.