All Blacks and Crusaders winger Zac Guildford was banned from the first match of the 2012 Super Rugby season as punishment for his drunken behavior in the Cook Islands last month.
The New Zealand Rugby Union also ordered Guildford, 22, to seek alcohol treatment and counseling at his own expense after conducting a misconduct hearing following reports that he staggered naked, drunk and bleeding into a bar on Nov. 11 and then assaulted two people. He was also accused of harassing a Cook Islands triathlete in the South Pacific nation.
Guildford’s conduct was “unprofessional and brought the game into disrepute,” the Wellington-based NZRU said today in a statement. The governing body imposed a four-match ban covering the Crusaders’ three pre-season matches and the Feb. 24 Super Rugby opener against the Blues in Auckland.
“Taking players out of rugby is not something we do lightly,” Neil Sorensen, the NZRU’s general manager of professional rugby, said in the statement. “But we have taken into account the fact that with regard to alcohol-related behavior, Zac does not have an exemplary record.”
Guildford, who said Sept. 19 that he had an alcohol problem after being reprimanded by the All Blacks management during the Rugby World Cup, said that he was embarrassed by his actions.
“I let down the many people who support me,” he said in the statement. “I am focused on getting myself into the place I need to be when I return to rugby next year.”
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