- Category: Sport
- Created: Tuesday, 24 November 2015 07:11
Former All Black Zac Guildford's rugby career has been embroiled in controversy, but now he wants one last chance at redemption and has given up liquor to get it.
'This is last chance saloon for me'
The former All Blacks winger is seeking redemption, hoping Fight for Life will be the first step in putting his troubled past, and reputation behind him.
"I got described as a human torpedo when I was drinking," the 26-year-old told Seven Sharp.
The Hawke's Bay man's battle with the bottle led to the end of his All Blacks career, and saw him listed as "troubled".
"I've talked about it to mates. At times, we've changed the word 'troubled' to misunderstood."
However, he was offered one final lifeline to play professionally when the New South Wales Waratahs gave him a contract for next year's Super Rugby competition.
"This is last chance saloon for me. If I stuff it up, it's game over."
A tough point in Guildford's young life was when his father passed away six years ago after suffering a heart attack while watching his son play for New Zealand at the under-21 world champs in Japan.
However, just a few months later Guildford was selected for the All Blacks.
It's either one beer or 24 beers and I need to learn not to drink"
But, the winger dealt with the pressure of wearing the black jersey by going on benders, most famously in the Cook Islands were he was discovered naked, covered in blood, and drunk.
The drinking problems, Guildford said, began in high school.
"We'd just drink till blackouts, till we were absolutely smashed and wake up and think what happened there.
"And then 1st XV parties carried on like that: you get a keg and just drink until you drop, sorta thing.
"Other people my age go through the same struggles but they're not in the spotlight."
He entered rehab, and said no one was to blame but himself.
"It's either one beer or 24 beers and I need to learn not to drink.
"It's not going to be easy, it's bloody hard... I know how hard it's going to be, but I don't want to live the life I've been living for the past six years because it has been pretty average."