16 May 2023

Billy Guyton dies at 33

9:52 am on 16 May 2023
Billy Guyton scores for Tasman against Manawatu in 2013.

Billy Guyton scores for Tasman against Manawatu in 2013. Photo: photosport

Former New Zealand rugby player Billy Guyton has died at the age of 33.

Guyton had a short but successful career before concussion forced his early retirement.

He played for three Super Rugby franchises, represented the Maori All Blacks and played 52 times for the Tasman Mako, where he was most recently assistant coach to the women's side.

Guyton told the Nelson Weekly in 2018 that he was suffering from concussion symptoms and revealed he battled bi-polar throughout his career.

Struggling to play with his then two year old daughter prompted his decision.

He said there would be a number of everyday activities that would trigger his concussion symptoms.

"Watching TV would bring on headaches, doing too many tasks, loud noises, some days I would need noise-cancelling headphones or I would feel nauseous and have blurry or double vision, it was not very fun."

Billy Guyton playing for the Blues in 2016.

Billy Guyton playing for the Blues in 2016. Photo: Photosport

Guyton said winning the championship in 2013 with the Mako was a career highlight, as was winning the Heartland Championship with North Otago in 2010.

"There was a lot of emotion, but it gave me a good chance to reflect on what I had done so there was a sense of pride."

Guyton said the proudest moment for himself and his family was pulling on the black fern.

"Becoming a Maori All Black was awesome and a very proud moment for my family."

Tasman Rugby confirmed Guyton's death on social media.

"It is with great sadness to hear of the passing of Billy Guyton. Billy was a much-loved member of our whole Tasman Rugby Union team and had a positive impact on those he played alongside and coached. Billy has been a major contributor to the development of women's rugby across our Tasman region. Our condolences and aroha are extended to Billy's whāanau, friends and colleagues during this sad time."

Friends, family and former teammates have flooded social media with tributes.

"A truly genuine human being who would do anything for anyone. I will see you up there one day until we meet again."

"As a town, Waimate was so proud of him."

"A beloved teammate, immensely talented athlete and kind-hearted human."


If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.


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