Guildford seeks treatment
Troubled All Blacks winger Zac Guildford will take an indefinite break from rugby as he seeks treatment for personal issues, officials said on Saturday.
23-year-old Guildford, who has a history of alcohol-related problems, is facing misconduct proceedings after an off-field incident earlier this month when he reportedly became involved in a brawl with a man at a party.
The New Zealand Rugby Union said he had decided to withdraw indefinitely from the Crusaders ahead of the Super Rugby season to undergo an intensive treatment programme.
"Zac's withdrawal from the Crusaders means they are able to concentrate on preparing for their 2013 season, and Zac will be free from rugby to concentrate on resolving his personal issues," NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said in a statement.
Guildford admitted to having alcohol issues when publicly reprimanded by the All Blacks' management during the 2011 World Cup and two months later announced a 12-month drinking ban after he ran naked into a bar and allegedly punched two men.
New Zealand Rugby Players Association chief executive Rob Nichol said Guildford had accepted he faced a major challenge which meant he had to put his career on hold.
"We have taken the advice of experts and Zac is committed to the plan they have developed," he said.
"It is fundamental that he commits fully to the plan, and sees it through -- this means withdrawing from the rugby environment."
The winger has played 10 Tests and scored six tries for the All Blacks.